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3 1833 01752 6390 






U^V'L- /;'— // 



William Henry Ryder, d.D. 



"a tower of strength 
That stood four-square 
To all the winds that blew.' 






Copyright, 1891, 
By the Universaust Publishing House. 

tlnibrrsitrj ^3rrss: 
John Wilson and Son, Cambridge. 

To E. J. H. 


At her earnest solicitation it was begun, and by 

her constant encouragement and help 

it has been completed. 






I. Introduction 1 

ii. Dearth of Personal Records 2 

in. Character of Maritime People 4 

iv. Description of Cape Cod 6 

v. Cape Cod People 9 

vi. Provincetown 10 

vii. The Mayflower. — Pilgrims' First Landing . . . 11 

vin. Cape Cod Universalists 12 

ix. The Ryder Family 13 

x. The Ryder Pedigree 16 

xi. William Henry's Grandfather 16 

xn. William Henry Ryder's Father 17 

xin. Captain Ryder's Character IS 

xiv. His Birth and Childhood's Home 20 

xv. His Boyhood and Youth 22 

xvi. His Student Days 26 

xvn. He is Called to the Pulpit 30 

xvm. The Provincetown Pastors 32 

xix. The Provincetown Church. — Strange Incident . . 33 

xx. Ministers Born in Provincetown 36 

xxi. Away to School. — Pembroke Academy . . ... 37 

xxn. His First Sermon 38 

xxni. Rev. N. R. Wright's Reminiscences 3S 

xxiv. Incidents of Student Days 40 

xxv. Impediments of Fifty Years Ago. — Public Opinion 44 



xxvi. The Unitarian Position then 44 

xxvii. Religious Hostility. 40 

xxviii. The Author's Experience 4S 

xxix. Few Facilities for Theological Training ... 49 

xxx. Changes in Opinion due to Universalism . . 50 

xxxi. Lowell School of the Prophets 52 

xxxn. Resolves on Pulpit Preparation 53 

xxxiii. Prepares for the Ministry 53 

xxxiv. Enters the Ministry, Conconl, XII 54 

xxxv. First Work. — Appearance in Youth .... 55 

xxxvi. The Rev. T. W. Illraau's Testimony .... 56 

xxxvii. His Nashua Ministry 57 

xxxviu. Voyage to Europe 58 

xxxix. His Early Reminiscences 59 

xl. Ministerial Stipends. — A Reminiscence . . 60 

xli. His Roxbury Ministry 61 

xlii. Installation in Roxbury 62 

xliii. Roxbury School Board 62 

xliv. Reform Efforts 64 

xlv. Sermons and Addresses 65 

xlvi. Practical Humanity 65 

xlvii. Outside Labors 67 

xlviii. Influence on the Young 69 

xlix. A Striking Illustration 71 

l. The Ideal Pastor 72 

li. His Personal Influence 76 

lii. The Rev. Dr. Patterson's Testimony .... 77 

liii. His Roxbury Years 79 

liv. Called to Chicago 79 

i.v. His Chicago Ministry. — Installed SO 

lvi. Notable Years in Chicago 81 

lvii. Honors Conferred S2 

lviii. Effect of Removing West S2 

lix. The Rev. Dr. Tuttle's Account SI 

lx. Letter to A. W. Newman S7 

lxi. The Civil War S8 

lxii. Dr. Ryder's War Memories 90 

lxiii. His Loyal Efforts 90 



i-Xiv. The Northwestern Conference 91 

lxv. The Rev. Dr. Tuttle's Recollections ... 92 

lxvi. Service on Chicago Board of Education . . 95 

lxvii. Second European Voyage 96 

lxviii. Chaplain Collins and Army Experiences . . 97 

i.xix. Letter to Chaplain Collins 98 

i.xx. Charitable Work 99 

lxxi. Occasional Sermon in 1866 100 

lxxii. Sermon on the Catacombs 104 

lxxiii. Incident of the Popular Regard 104 

lxxiv. Sermon ou the " Signs of the Times " . . . 105 

lxxv. The Great Chicago Fire 105 

lxxvi. His Journey East 107 

lxxvii. Dr. Ryder's Account 10S 

Lxxvnr. His Great Success 109 

i.xxix. His Description of the Church's Progress . Ill 

lxxx. History of St. Paul's Church Edifices . . . 113 

lxxxi. First Church in Chicago 115 

lxxxii. The Van Buren Street Church 115 

lxxxiii. The Michigan Avenue Church 11G 

lxxxiv. New Chapel and Church 117 

lxxxv. Dr. Ryder's Last Public Words 118 

lxxxvi. Dedication of Present Church 119 

lxxxvii. Other Pastors 120 

lxxxviii. Not Controversial Except from Necessity . . 120 

lxxxix. " Hanging as a Means of Grace." .... 123 

xc. Memorial to Evangelical Alliance .... 128 

xci. The Swing Heresy Trial 130 

xcn. A Protest Against Misrepresentation . . . 131 

XCHI. Controversy on the Sunday Question . . 133 

xciv. A Famous Incident in Lynn, Mass 134 

xcv. His Sermons. — A Doctrinal Discourse . . 137 

xcvi. Declines the General Secretaryship .... 140 

xcvu. The Letter to Evangelist Moody 142 

xcvin. Letter to Professor Swing and Dr. Thomas . 151 

xcix. His Pulpit Themes 153 

O. A Crisis 154 

ci. Invited to New York 155 



































An Hour of Triumph 157 

Sermon on Dr. Thomas's Trial 158 

Occasional Sermon in Detroit, 1881 . . . 160 

Endless Sin and Endless Punishment . . . 162 

Resigns his Pastorate 161 

Letter to the Hon. Charles Whittier ... 169 

His Farewell Sermon 170 

A Parting Testimonial 177 

A Local Description 178 

Farewell Reception .ISO 

An Ideal Layman 185 

Gift to his Native Town 187 

The Russell Lecture • . 189 

His Sickness and Death 190 

His Obsequies 191 

The Rev. J. C Adams's Remarks .... 193 

Rev. Dr. Cantwell's Address 194 

Rev. Dr. J. VV. Hanson's Remarks .... 196 

Mr. J. H. Swan's Remarks 199 

Removal of Remains, Monument, etc . . . 200 

His Last Will and Testament 202 

His Noble Example 206 

His Financial Genius 209 

His Library 214 

Dr. Ryder's Versatility ... .... 214 

General Convention Memorial Service . . . 215 

Address of Arthur Edwards, D.D .... 216 

Address of H. W. Thomas, D.D 21S 

Address of I. M. Atwood, D.D 219 

Testimonials and Tributes 221 

Tribute of Lombard University 224 

President White's Estimate 225 

Professor J. C. Lee's Address 227 

His Name Perpetuated 228 

A Layman's Testimony 229 

A Characteristic Incident 232 

The Rev Dr. Tuttle's Estimate 232 

A Secular View of Dr. Ryder 235 



CXL. Pulpit Method, Preparation, etc 237 

cxli. Not a Member of any Secret Order .... 241 

cxlii. Indifference to Music, Poetry, etc 242 

cxliii. His Influence in Debate 245 

cxliv. Respected by other Denominations .... 245 

cxlv. Personal Appearance 247 

cxlvi. Pulpit-Manner, Voice, etc 248 

cxlvii. His Demeanor, Genuineness, etc 25c 

cxlviii. An Ideal Churchman 252 

cxlix. Influence of Character 256 

cl. He Pleached Christ 258 

cli. On the Atonement 260 

clii. Sermon on the Atonement 262 

cliii. The Name " Universalism" Vindicated . . 264 

cliv. His Domestic Relations 269 

clv. Mrs. J. H. Swan's Memorial 274 What Universalism can do for a Man . . . 275 

clvii. A Characteristic Discourse by Dr. Ryder . . 280 


Portrait at Sixty Frontispiece 

View of Provincetown Page 10 

Home of Dr. Ryder's Childhood 20 

St. Paul's Church,' Wabash Avenue .... 106 
Ruins of St. Paul's Church, Wabash Aye. . . 107 

Michigan Avenue Church 116 

Dr. Ryder's Monument 200 

The residence of Dr. Ryder at the time of the Great Fire was the 
house seen at the right of the Wabash Avenue Church. 

'The tower in the centre of the picture of Provincetown represents the 
Town Hall on the site of the Ryder Homestead. The spire on the left of 
the Town Hall is that of the Universalist Church. 

The portrait is a remarkably faithful picture of the original during his 
later years. 

The four monograms on the cover are explained on page 201. 


In placing the Illustrations, the binder has transposed those that 
should face pages 107 and 116. 


This biography was undertaken both from a 

sense of duty and a love for the man whose 

life it attempts to record. It seemed 


to be due to his successors in the 
church of his love, to describe the noble life of 
William Henry Ryder ; and the duty was one 
that the author has performed con amove. For 
about forty-four years of the most intimate 
acquaintance, we not only enjoyed the mutual 
sympathy of a common work, but our specific 
views were so nearly in accord that the task of 
writing his Life became a labor of love. 

While arranging the materials for this me- 
moir I have felt constantly en rapport with the 
man, sometimes more than when he was living. 
There have been moments in which I have 
seemed nearer to him than when we stood face 

to face in the flesh, and for the time being my 



mind was " subdued to what it worked in, like 
the dyer's hand." 

If any reader shall catch an impulse from the 
volume that shall inspire him with resolutions 
to acquire the spirit and principles that ani- 
mated and actuated the subject of this memoir, 
the world will be the better, and the book will 
have served its purpose. 


Seldom has a man so prominent as Mr. Ryder 

left so few materials of which to construct 

an interesting story. The absence of 

Dearth of ° J 

Personal diary, or ot personal record ot any 


kind, and the dearth of letters from 
him to friends from which matter pertaining to 
himself might be extracted, and even of manu- 
scripts of sermons, are something remarkable. 
His preaching for many years had been almost 
exclusively what is called ex tempore ; it was 
his habit to write few and brief letters ; he 
communicated next to nothing to the press, 
and so far as is known left no personal data. 
Scarcely a line of his writing has been found, 
except his will. Added to this, he rarely 
talked of himself. So that biographical mat- 
ter, such as biographies are usually composed 


of, would seem to be very meagre. At the same 
time, Mr. Ryder's public work was so broad ; 
his character was so large and grand ; his 
generosity so far-reaching and beneficent ; and 
his discourses that found their way into type, 
almost without his effort, w r ere so marked, — 
withal, he occupied the public attention for so 
many years, that what his career lacks in inci- 
dent and in data is perhaps compensated in 
other ways. It may therefore be possible, 
the author hopes, to evolve such an impres- 
sion of the man, such a picture of what he 
was, as shall convey to the reader's mind a 
correct idea of his character, his work, his life, 
his real self. 

To pass nearly forty years as parish preacher, 
going from pulpit to study and from study to 
pulpit ; quietly visiting his people in their pros- 
perity and adversity ; kneeling at the bedside 
of the sick, and standing over the coffined 
dead, — all this gives very little matter with 
which to construct an interesting story, espe- 
cially when no account of it remains. No 
doubt, had the incidents that occurred as Mr. 
Ryder went his rounds among the people, and 
the workings of his mind as he lived out his 
life, been written clown and preserved, they 
would make a precious record. In the absence 


of this we can only study the grand figure, and 
gauge its antecedents and estimate its hidden 
springs by the ripe results in the full and com- 
pleted life. Such a harvest as was gathered into 
the garners of heaven when he departed could 
only have been matured from precious seed, fed 
by celestial dews, and diligently and faithfully 


There seems to be something in the atmos- 

phere of the seaside that religiously disposes the 

minds of men. Those " who go down 

Ch timet cr of 

Maritime to the sea in ships, and do business in 
great waters " were among the first to 
respond to the call of the Master, and leave their 
nets and follow him ; and ever since the dwell- 
ers by the sea have not only been noted for 
their Christian tendencies, but for their readi- 
ness to recognize the ever-unfolding phases of 
Christian truth. 

When John Murray landed on the Jersey 
sands he found those who were waiting his 
arrival, whose hearts had already caught and 
germinated the good seed of the Kingdom, and 
the message he proclaimed found from them a 
ready response. His more permanent labors on 


the Massachusetts coast were at once fruitful 
of results, and sea-faring people seem to have 
hailed his words with the most enthusiasm, and 
to have been among those who most persist- 
ently retained them. Not only the ancient 
town of Gloucester, the scene of his first per- 
manent labors, but Cape Ann, Cape Cod, and 
the Massachusetts shores saw his adherents 
multiply, until it almost seemed that his gen- 
erous doctrines were indigenous to the soil. 
Not only the intelligent shipmaster, but the 
men and boys who made up his crew were 
wide awake, independent spirits, keenly alive 
to progressive ideas, and they naturally gave, 
hospitable reception to the new thought, and 
wherever found they brought it home from 
their wanderings, and submitting it to the scru- 
tiny of the level heads and warm hearts that 
seem in an unusual degree to abound in mari- 
time communities, it resulted that the new 
faith took deep root along the Massachusetts 
coast. Nowhere else have the broad principles 
of the Universalist faith more prevailed, and 
nowhere else are they relatively more domi- 
nant, than among the intelligent, progressive, 
moral, and religious population that occupies 
the sandy or rock-bound coast, the bays and 
inlets, the towns and cities of " the wild New 


England shore." Though a prolific cradle of 
emigration, that has sent out the flower of its 
youth to people other realms, and though they 
have conveyed the broader faith to plant new 
churches and leaven and expand narrow creeds, 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the home realm 
was not impoverished by exportation ; the 
scions that were transplanted and grafted else- 
where did not leave the native stock barren 
or less vigorous. Our faith, that had its first 
marked growth along the New England border, 
is still the prevalent sentiment where it first 
took root. And as much as in any one portion 
of that favored region, this is true of that 
curious locality, Cape Cod. 

A copy of the " Boston Trumpet " dated in 
the year 1850 says: — 

" Here is the best of soil for the heavenly plant of 
Universalism. In the hearts of often-tried and far- 
wandering mariners, with homes and friends to love, 
with the bright skies and the billowy ocean to study, 
it may well flourish and it does flourish." 


Thoreau says : — 

" Cape Cod is the bared and bended arm of Mas- 
sachusetts ; the shoulder at Buzzard's Bay ; the elbow 
or crazy bone at Cape Mallebarre ; the wrist at Truro, 


and the sandy fist at Provincetown, — behind which 
the State stands on her guard, with her back to the 
Description Green Mountains, and her feet planted on 
of Cape Cod j-j ie fl oor f ^\ ie oceanj like an athlete, pro- 
tecting her bay, — boxing with northeast storms, and 
ever and anon heaving up her Atlantic adversary 
from the lap of earth, — ready to thrust forward her 
other fist, which keeps guard the while upon her 
breast at Cape Ann." 

This singular formation lias an average width 
of five miles, and extends from the town of 
Sandwich east and northwest about sixty-five 
miles. With the exception of here and there 
a bowlder, near the mainland, it is largely com- 
posed of yellow sand, " clear grit," without a 
particle of soil or even gravel, to a depth of 
three hundred feet below sea level, — says 
Hitchcock. For thirty miles from the point of 
the cape, — the "fist," — scarcely a rock is seen. 
The surface gradually rises from the shore to 
the interior some two or three hundred feet, but 
to the eye the country wears the appearance of 
a vast level of dreary sand, mostly bare, broken 
by scrubby undergrowth, patches of grass, scat- 
tering houses, villages, windmills, salt works, 
small cranberry marshes, among which the sand 
drifts like snow, and in the more exposed locali- 
ties the sand is only kept from burying houses 


by protecting fences. In places one can see the 
reflection of the sun on windows fifteen miles 
away. The wells and cellars are of brick, in 
the absence of stone, and the few small gardens, 
except in low, swampy places, are of imported 
earth, brought in the holds of vessels. A story 
is told — having the flavor of the sea, and 
illustrating the accuracy of the knowledge of 
localities acquired by the men who knew almost 
every inch of the shore by sight — of a ship- 
master of Provincetown, who boasted that he 
could tell exactly where he was, in an}' part of 
the New England seas, by examining the dirt 
brought up by heaving his lead. Once his men, 
before casting the lead as usual, greased it, 
and rubbed on it some of the earth from a 
barrel containing potatoes, procured from Prov- 
incetown. The sailor, after heaving the lead, 
carried it to the captain, and asked him to tell 
the ship's whereabouts. Carefully scanning the 
adhering soil he exclaimed, " Provincetown is 
sunk, and we are right over Widow Jones's 
garden ! " 

The poet James T. Fields, in an amusing 
brochure, locates this scene in Nantucket. But 
it is quite as likely to have occurred in 
Provincetown, and is probably as true of one 
locality as it is of the other. There is truth 


in the story, if it is not literally true of the 
navigators of either place. 


The comminuted granite in which the human 
denizens of the region tramp and wade seems to 
Cape cod impart its "sand" to their fibre, and 
People. the bracing breath of the ocean that 
sweeps over the level and sterile surface con- 
tributes a tonic to their blood, so that the men 
and women of " the Cape " wherever they go are 
characterized by their sturdy persistency ; their 
enterprise and integrity; their moral and civic 
qualities. In whatever walk of life they are 
found, they are among the most vigorous, en- 
terprising and successful in any community. 
Long generations of maritime life have inoc- 
ulated them with the disposition to migrate, 
so that, following the star of empire, they 
have scattered all over the broad domain to 
which their barren birthplace is the stepping- 
stone and threshold. 

Most of the men of Cape Cod have been sea- 
farers, — shipmasters and sailors. They have 
ploughed the brine in all latitudes, under every 
sky. From the original settlement of this in- 
hospitable promontory these modern but peace- 


fill vikings have coasted every shore and furled 
their sails in all the ports of the world. Could 
their annals be written, the story of their perils 
and hardships would give splendid illustra- 
tions of the poet's aphorism, " Peace hath her 
heroes." The effect has been to develop a 
hardy, sturdy race, equal to whatever demands 
circumstances have exacted. 


Provincetown, the doubled " fist " of Massa- 
chusetts, is the extreme end of the Cape. It is 

Province- tne rea l " jumping-off place " of which 
town. we } lear g0 muc i lj f or [i j s one f ^| ie 

few railroad termini where the railway not only 
ends now, but beyond which it can never go. 
It has long derived its prosperity from the fish- 
eries, and catching and curing fish has been the 
principal pursuit of the people. The " smacks" 
lie at the wharves ; the " flakes " surround the 
town ; the odor makes the air redolent ; and 
the thoughts of the young, their " long, long 
thoughts," all turn seaward as the probable 
arena of their life exploits. Looking north, east, 
and west, only the restless Atlantic is in sight, 
while southward stretches the desert monotony 
of sand, scarcely less dreary than the "gray 
and melancholy waste " of ocean. 


The harbor is one of the best on the Atlantic 
coast, so broad and deep that a navy might ride 
in the hospitable haven. It is not uncommon 
for several hundred sail to find shelter at once 
within the bend of this protecting arm. 

The town is principally on two narrow, 
crooked streets, more than three miles long, un- 
like the most of the roads, well turnpiked, so 
that they are free from the clouds of drifting 
sand that at times are blown about, only kept 
down here and there by the carefully encouraged 
beach-grass, whose roots bind it. The wheels of 
the wagons are broad-tired to keep them from 
sinking into the yielding soil. The young men 
in "ye olden time " were wont to say that the 
Provincetown girls were so light-footed that they 
could walk to church without getting sand in 
their shoes ; but some of the envious neighbors 
declared that it was because they carried their 
shoes under their arms and went barefoot. 


It is interesting to remember that the May- 
flower, in 1620, anchored off Provincetown, and 

wand that the first landin g of the Pilgrims 
Pilgrims' before the debarkation at Plymouth 
ing, etc. was in Provincetown, November 11, 
1620, under the lead of the redoubtable Cap- 


tain Myles Standish, not on " a stern and rock- 
bound coast," but on the smooth and slopiug 
beach of Cape Cod. Here the first birth took 
place, that of Peregrine White, the first white 
child born in America, who lived to the age of 
eighty-four; and here occurred the first death 
for Dorothy May Bradford was buried beneath 
the waters of Provincetown Harbor. The fa- 
mous compact of government was adopted in 
the cabin of the Mayflower, while she lay at 
anchor here ; so that it may be said that the 
American nation had its birth in Provincetown, 
for the " compact " was the germ of American 
republicanism. When the Cape was first seen 
by the Pilgrims it was covered with a vigorous 
growth of oak and pine. 


The Universalist men and women of this 
region largely predominate, as compared with 
Cape Cod their relative numbers in other por- 
Universaiists. t j ons f New England ; and whether 
at home or scattered abroad, they are to be 
depended upon. The writer of these lines has 
been connected with our church journals during 
twenty-one years of his life, and his duties have 
called him to all parts of our country, particu- 


j. o 

larly in the northwestern States, and he has 
rarely, if ever, found a Universalist from the 
Cape, who, in the Western vernacular, " would 
not do to tie to." Firm, persistent, they are 
prominent among those who, migrating from 
the East, have planted the seeds of our cause in 
the West. Among such people, and contribu- 
ting its full quota to the characteristic elements 
of the population, should be reckoned the Ryder 


About 1700 a.d. two brothers, Gersham and 
Benjamin Rider, arrived from some part of 
The Ryder England, and settled in Provincetown. 

aimh. The gection of t | ie motller country 

whence they migrated is not known, but from 
their choosing the sterile point of land that 
was the depot and entrepot of fishermen, it is 
supposed that they came from some part of the 
"fast anchored isle" where fishing had been 
the pursuit of the people, and that they chose 
the Cape because it reminded them of their 
native realm. The name then, and for several 
generations, was spelled with an i instead of a 
y, — Rider. The subject of this biography and 
his brother made the new departure by spelling 
the name Ryder. 


From Benjamin ( 1 ), the ancestor of William 
Henry, were descended Benjamin (2), Ebenezer, 
Mary, Hannah, and Mehitabel. 

Ebenezer, the ancestor of William Henry, 
married Hannah Godfrey, of Chatham, and the 
following were his children : Samuel, David, 
Ebenezer, Jerusha, Richard, and Bethia. Bethia 
died young ; Samuel, Ebenezer, Richard, and 
Jerusha removed to Maine with their families 
about 1797, and settled in Bucksport and Or- 
rington, on the coast of Maine, then a part 
of Massachusetts. Jerusha married Solomon 

David (1), from whom William Henry was 
descended, was born March 3, 1762, and mar- 
ried Anna Hinks December 10, 1789. Anna 
was born in Truro, January 10, 1765, and died 
May 1, 1820. David died February 12, 1841. 
The children of David (1) and Anna were: 
David "(2), born October 2, 1790, died at St. 
Thomas, West Indies, February 26, 1846 ; 
Jesse, born June 30, 1792, died October 24, 
1874; Elisha (1), born March 24, 1794, died 
December 21, 1795; Elisha (2) born May 10, 
1796, died August 30, 1869 ; Godfrey (1), born 
December 31, 1799, married Ruth Collins 
March 29, 1821; Anna, born March 16, 1800, 
married Benjamin Rider, and died October 8, 


1869; Elizabeth, born July 8, 1802, married 
JonN Nickerson, died September 26, 1863 ; 
Henry, born May 1, 1804, lost at sea March 2, 
1849 ; and William, born October 20, 1806, lost 
at sea September 21, 1865. David (2) subse- 
quently married Lucy Lewis, and the children 
of his second marriage were Lucy Lewis, born 
August 3, 1821, Hannah Godfrey, born Auo-ustr 
28, 1825, Benjamin, born January 17, 1827. 

The children of Godfrey (1) and Ruth were 
William Henry, born July 13, 1822, died 
March 7, 1888; married Caroline Frances 
Adams (who was born February 17, 1822, died 
February 8, 1891); Godfrey (2), born De- 
cember's, 1824, died June 1, 1883. < 

Child of William Henry and Caroline 
Frances, — Caroline Collins, born in Rox- 
bury, Massachusetts, August 26, 1855, married 
to John French Morrill, April 3, 1882 (who 
was born in Laconia, New Hampshire, July 19, 
1833, and died in Chicago June 7, 1887). 

Children of Caroline C. Morrill : Ryderea, 
born in Chicago, July 26, 1885 ; John French, 
born in Chicago January 24, 1888. 

Among the members of the family was Azuba 
Freeman Ryder, wife of Samuel, who died 
September 30, 1888, age one hundred and four 
years and nine months 





Ebenezer = Hannah Godfrey 
David = Anna II inks 

Godfrey = Ruth Collins 

William Henry = Caroline Frances Adams 


Caroline Collins Ryder = John French Morrill 

I J 1 

Ryderea John French 

Two hundred years of residence easily makes 
the Ryders one of the " first families " in Amer- 
ica ; and six generations " to the manor born " 
— four of which were in the land of the Pil- 
grims — give the family the blue blood of the 
Puritans. Doctor Ryder was a " Yankee of the 
Yankees," and from youth up he preserved and 
illustrated the best qualities of the race. 


His grandfather, David (1), was a man of 

quite remarkable character. David's father, 

Ebenezer, went insane when David 


Henry's was but ten years old, and the invalid 

depended upon the lad, even at that 

early age, and he continued his care until his 


death. David was a man of great piety and 
Christian worth, and was deacon of the Conore- 
gational Church for twenty years of his life. 
The religious strain in the family was pro- 
nounced at least as early as this ancestor. 


Captain Godfrey, the father, was a man of 
remarkable individuality, whose characteristics 
wmiam are well remembered. He w r asa stanch, 
Ryder's sterling man, with a strong will and 
Father. Qxm prejudices, — a worthy represen- 
tative of the race of Cape Cod shipmasters. 
Rev. Gamaliel Collins, who knew him well, 
writes : — 

" He was one of the most notable men of bis times, 
and one of the most successful sailors Provincetown 
ever produced. He was all pluck and always success- 
ful in his voyages except in losing three vessels at sea. 
But these losses did not destroy his courage. One 
voyage an elder brother of mine was one of the crew. 
The day after the vessel sailed a terrible easterly 
storm began. My father sent me to Captain Ryder's 
father to ask him if he thought his son would return 
to port. The old gentleman looked at me in surprise, 
and indignantly replied, ' Tell your father that God- 
frey never turns back.' " 

It was usually said of him that if he ap- 


pointed a day to leave port no storm would 
deter him. He was a believer in prayer, but as 
supplemented by works. He had something of 
the spirit of the Scotch boatman who was 
crossing a loch with two ministers. A heavy 
storm came up, when the clergyman proposed 
prayers. "The little one may pray if he like," 
said Sandy, "but the big one maun tak' an 
oar." Once when his vessel was about to go 
to pieces, his brother Jesse delayed leaving the 
sinking craft by remaining to pray. But Cap- 
tain Godfrey exclaimed, " Come, come, brother 
Jesse, there is no time for prayers now ! Over 
board ! overboard ! " 


Many anecdotes are told of the decision of 
character and grim humor of Captain Ryder. 
Captain He was justice of the peace for some 
Character, years. Once when an advocate made 
objection to the argument of the counsel on the 
other side, Justice Ryder interrupted him by 
saying, " Just so ; let him go on, I made up my 
mind long ago ! " At another time, when a 
lad of well-known mischievous tendencies was 
brought before him accused of some offence, 
his mother testified that her bov was sick in 


bed at home at the time the offence was com- 
mitted. " Just so," replied the magistrate. 
using his habitual expletive, " but he would 
have been there if he had been well ; all 
the Province town boys ought to be under 
bonds." And he was bound over. When Pres- 
ident Johnson visited Boston Captain Ryder 
called to see him, and was told by Colonel 
Godfrey, his son, that express orders had been 
issued that no one should disturb him till nine 
o'clock in the evening. " Just so," said the 
Captain, " but I shall be in bed at Medford at 
nine o'clock." And so persistent was he that 
the President made his appearance, saying, 
" Where is the gentleman who wishes to see 
me ? " And the desired interview followed. 

Godfrey Ryder dominated the little town by 
his strong personality, and was for years its 
leading citizen. He was a man of deep relig- 
ious feeling, and was intensely in favor of edu- 
cation. Though he had few early advantages 
he became quite a scholar, and served for years 
on the School Committee, rendering great ser- 
vice. The Rev. Gamaliel Collins relates that in 
early youth William Henry loved intellectual 
pursuits. This taste he inherited from his 
father, for after Captain Ryder had secured a 
competency from maritime ventures, and was 


more than forty years of age, he attended school 
with Mr. Collins ; and he informed Mr. Collins 
that until then he had found no time to study, 
and aware of the value of knowledge, he had 
determined to learn. And learn he did. This 
disposition on the part of the father shows us 
what influence he exerted on the son in foster- 
ing; the love of learning-. And we can the more 
easily account for the early and irrepressible 
bent of the youth toward study, if we add that 
the influence of his mother — a quiet, earnest, 
gentle, industrious woman, whose character was 
the complement of the rugged masculinity of 
her husband — was in the same direction. 


From such an ancestry and with such antece- 
dents "William Henry Ryder was born in Prov- 
incetown. on July 13, 1822. When 

His Birth . . 

ami Child- he was quite small his father built a 

hood's Home. . _, -in 

house on Commercial btreet, since re- 
moved to Winslow Street to make room for the 
Town Hall that now occupies the ancient home- 
stead site. 

Miss Annie H. Rvder, in her " Margaret 
Regis and Some Other Girls " (D. Lothrop and 
Company), describes the old house in which 


William Henry passed bis youth, and in which 
her brother, the Rev. William Henry Rider, was 

" It was one of those houses full of histories ; not 
tragedies, but records of such experiences as come in 
the lives of families neither rich nor poor, — - people who 
have had means enough and love enough to preserve 
their homesteads from generation to generation. It 
was a house with a broad front, a square room of con- 
siderable dimensions being on each side of the front 
door. In tbe left-hand room all the marriages had 
been celebrated, and in the right-hand room the last 
services to the dead had been solemnized. In the 
front room above the apartment where the festivities 
were held, all the children had been born, and oppo- 
site was the chamber where all the guests had lodged. 
In the long dining-room that extended nearly the 
width of the house, all the Thanksgiving dinners had 
been eaten, all the family councils held, while in the 
tiny bedrooms at either end of the room the aged 
grandparents had slept so many years, — too feeble 
to go upstairs. The dining-room teemed with sug- 
gestions that brought back vivid memories of the fam- 
ily's past. There was the tall wooden clock, with the 
vessel on its face forever pitching and plunging with 
the movement of the clock. The sun-dial was on the 
window seat with its mysterious line of shadow, ac- 
commodating enough on a bright day, but sullen and 
unresponsive whenever the sun hid his face. And 
there were the old, old faces on the walls, in frames as 


dim as the fading features, but not to be discarded, 
though a bright and suggestive picture hung here and 
there among them." 

And the story goes on to describe the old- 
fashioned garden to which the sea-going captain 
loved to return, and in which he found delight 
among its old-fashioned flowers after his ocean 
voyages had ended, and in which William Ryder 
passed his youthful years. 


Of his early life, Chaplain Collins writes : — 

" We were friends from early boyhood. I was a few 
years older, therefore the better judge of him. I will 
His Boyhood sa y tms °f m 7 playmate, which speaks 
and Youth, volumes: I never knew him guilty of a 
mean or cowardly ac+ion. My parents used to hold 
him up as a model. He never quarrelled with his 
companions, but was always pleasant." 

The youth must have resolved to enter the 
ministry while yet in his teens, for the effect of 
his family's religion, and of the devoted min- 
isters of our church who occupied the Province- 
town pulpit during his boyhood, easily turned 
his thoughts in that direction. And he must 
have been in the estimation of all a thoroughly 
good boy, and already possessed that courage and 


confidence which distinguished his later years ; 
for he tells us in his Farewell Sermon that dur- 
ing the summer of 1837, at the request of his 
pastor, he read two sermons in the pulpit of his 
native town during the absence of the pastor, 
the Rev. John Bovee Docls. The boy was then 
fifteen years old ! 

He was a genuine Cape Cod product, — a 
thoroughbred Provincetown lad, — much like 
other boys, except that he was more studious and 
ambitious than most. The Rev. W. P. Burnell 
has gathered from those familiar with hirn in 
boyhood that from his ninth to his seventeenth 
year he spent much of his time at sea with his 
father, going to the Straits of Belle Isle and 
other places for fish ; and also coasting from 
Provincetown tb Boston, New York, Philadel- 
phia, Norfolk, and the West Indies, exchanging 
the wealth taken from the sea for other com- 
modities. Once, at least, he went on a short 
whaling voyage. At the age of fourteen the 
young fellow was cook for his father and his 
crew. On the return voyage of a vessel named 
for his son the " William Henry," from Norfolk, 
Va., Captain Godfrey discovered a formidable 
leak, and saw that it would be only a short 
time before the craft must sink. He ordered 
William to gather all the provisions he could, 



and they were placed in the dory ; and just as 
the last man was in the boat the vessel plunged 
forward and went to the bottom of the sea. No 
sail was in sight, and the crew was obliged to 
pass a long and perilous forty-eight hours on 
the deep, much of the time bailing out the leaky 
boat in which father, son, and crew had taken 
refuge. Fortunately, a passing vessel rescued 

When at Labrador, fishing, it is said that 
some of his shipmates considered him indolent. 
But his busy thoughts were so occupied with 
something higher than fishing that his com- 
panions concluded that he was " doing noth- 
ing," when he was, no doubt, like his Master at 
twelve, " about his Father's business." 

His early experiences established a permanent 
feud between the sea and himself, for though he 
" loved to wanton with its breakers," and crossed 
the Atlantic six times, he could never float on 
the water, even of the " great unsalted sea " that 
washes the second city of our country, without 
the severest attacks of that foe to the enjoy- 
ment of those who venture on the water, — the 
mal de ?ner. He would be ill every day of a 
long voyage, and yet no one loved more than 
he the sight of the sea or the motion of its 


Finding the son determined on acquiring an 
education, the father, who seldom relinquished 
a purpose. — but persuaded in part, no doubt, 
by his own high estimate of knowledge, as well 
as by the son's importunities, — gave his con- 
sent, after he had procured all that the village 
schools could impart, to his departure from 
home to complete his education. When not at 
sea, during the late autumn and winter, he was 
a faithful and diligent attendant in that citadel 
of knowledge, that nursery of American civiliza- 
tion, " the little red schoolhouse." And durin^ 
one term, and possibly two terms, at seventeen 
he acted the pedagogue. 

Perhaps a mother's testimony is not always 
the most unprejudiced, but the mother of Wil- 
liam Ryder will find no incredulous listeners 
when she says, according to Chaplain Collins : 

" When I told William to do anything, or go any- 
where, 1 always knew he would do it. If he makes 
on appointment, I am sure he will fill it. If he tells 
me anything, I know it is so." 

Thus, when he was a child the boy was father 
of the coming man. His father often endeav- 
ored to fire his youthful ambition by declaring 
that he had the hope of seeing him one day 
treading the quarter-deck of his own ship. 


Usually inflexible, he wisely yielded to his son's 
even more unrelenting purpose. 


The crisis came when he was nearly seven- 
teen. His father was about starting on a cruise 
His student to Labrador, and the obedient but 
Days. secretly reluctant son was going on 

board ship, when the father, perceiving a little 
sadness on the boy's face, said, " Don't you 
want to go ? " " No, father," said the lad, " I 
want to go to school." " Take your clothes and 
go home then," said the parent ; and with a 
cheerful heart the boy turned his face toward 
the halls of learning, and left the company of 
" the toilers of the sea." 

He made good progress in his studies ; but 
it may encourage others who find the hill of 
knowledge hard to climb, to know that his most 
sanguine friends discerned no indication of the 
celebrity that was awaiting him. Not one of 
those who knew him best anticipated for him 
anything like the brilliant career he pursued, or 
predicted a great future. Hans Christian An- 
dersen's brood of ducklings did not recognize 
the young swan among them till " the ugly 
duck " outgrew his companions and proved 


himself a swan. Those who came to know 
him in after years can easily see that no lack of 
encouragement from others, and even no amount 
of discouragement, could dissuade him "from a 
course on which he had once set his heart. His 
experience should be a warning to teachers to 
be chary of discouraging the young. Adverse 
prophecies are never safe. Many an " ugly 
duck" becomes a swan. Some minds ripen 
slowly, mature late. The laggard plant some- 
times yields a century-blooming flower. The 
Rev. W. P. Burnell informs me that a well- 
known clergyman assured him that the young 
man resorted to him to prepare for the min- 
istry even before he had acquired an academic 
education ; and that the clergyman so failed to 
detect the genius of the youthful aspirant to the 
pulpit that he advised him to seek some other 
vocation, as he clearly had not the talent for 
that work ! His example should not be lost on 
the young man on whose ambition his elders 
throw cold water. If conscious of the ability to 
conquer success, and those older than he fail to 
recognize his qualities, let him ignore their dis- 
couragements and persevere toward the goal of 
his ambition. His experience should be a per- 
petual exhortation to teachers and others to be 
careful how they discourage the young, and to 


the young not to be swerved from their purpose 
by the discouragements of those who do not 
detect their latent powers. 

When he proposed going away to school his 
father at first firmly opposed the scheme, and 
absolutely refused to furnish the money to de- 
fray the expense of the education on which the 
young man had resolved. And it is a fact that 
he underwent great privation, and lived so close 
to the bone as absolutely to suffer while fight- 
ing his way. In consequence of his father's 
opposition he would not appeal to him for 
help, and the comparatively small amount he 
borrowed he was unable to refund until after 
he removed to Roxbury. 

Some of the contemporaries of Captain God- 
frey Ryder, however, remember to have heard 
him say, in his dry way, that he feared he 
should be obliged to consent that William 
should become a minister, as he could not see 
that he was fit for anything else ! 

Captain Ryder was very anxious that his son 
should achieve financial success, and he had no 
faith that more than a common school educa- 
tion would contribute to that result. Had he 
been willing to pay the cost the boy would 
have been graduated from college. Though the 
father loved his church he was unwilling that 



his son should, as he supposed he would do if 
he entered the ministry, sacrifice his worldly 
interests. He had the New England thrift, and 
the prejudice of the New England business 
man and money -lover against what such re- 
gard as the genteel pauperism of the clergy- 
man, — the " pulpit beggar." And it was not 
until the young man had shown something of 
his father's pluck, and obtained an academic 
and theological education, and demonstrated 
his ability to execute his purpose, that the 
father relented. It was a good test of his con- 
secrated perseverance that he was left to fio-ht 
his way unaided to the beginning of his minis- 
terial career. And it is a significant comment 
on his father's fears that he achieved a finan- 
cial success far beyond all that could ever have 
been dreamed of as possible, as it is on the 
prophecies of his first theological teacher, that 
he considered as a failure a young man who in 
a few years rose to an eminence in the clerical 
profession rarely surpassed by any of his con- 
temporaries. As the son of a rich man, — rich 
for his day and locality, — he may perhaps 
have deserved more praise for his rare success 
than he would have been entitled to had he 
possessed no "great expectations." He did 
not look forward to a life-long strucmle with 

oo J 


poverty, and he therefore lacked the stimulus 
which that rude, invigorating nurse imparts to 
those she rears. We say " poor, but honest," 
but we cannot as often truthfully say " rich, 
but persevering, industrious, and successful by 
his own efforts." It was no doubt a conve- 
nience to have a rich father. But in his case, 
as too often it is, it was no obstacle to effort. 
It did not paralyze his powers, but he pushed 
onward with as much energy as though he had 
no expectations from others. Possibly he de- 
serves as much praise for his success as though 
he had been rocked in the cradle of penury, 
and expected always to be nurtured on her 
scant and homely fare. 


There is little doubt that his heart was set on 

the Christian ministry even as early as he read 

the sermons in the Provincetown pul- 

He is called ..,._.. 

to the pit in his fifteenth year, perhaps 

Pulpit. l . . T . J L . , l 

earlier. It is to be regretted that 

few words of his are in existence to enable 
us to look into his early days. We can only 
surmise from the few known facts that his pur- 
pose to enter the Christian pulpit was formed 
while he was yet a child. It would be a rare 


delight to be able to look into the young mind 
of this thoughtful, ambitious, Christian boy, 
and regard its workings, — see the first flutter- 
ing^ of the young pinions, ere they were spread 
in flight, and carried him to the elevated 
heights to which in later years he attained. 
In youth, as in mature years, he seems to have 
kept his own counsel. Had he been a little 
more communicative we might find a most 
interesting study in those early years when 
the ingenuous youth was contemplating his life 
career. In the absence of such desirable mate- 
rial we cannot err if we make the great suc- 
cesses of his life the gauge by which to measure 
his quality at the start. Age cannot evolve 
what youth has not involved. The sterling 
powers of manhood must have existed in boy- 
hood, and the imagination can but with pleas- 
ure dwell on the beginnings of a career like his, 
though the exact scenery through which the 
stream at first flowed is concealed from our sight. 
But though he must have had the idea of the 
ministry floating in his mind, it was not until 
he was in his seventeenth year that he came to 
the real " parting of the ways." Hon. Charles 
Whittier of Roxbury remembers to have heard 
him say that when of that age he came in a 
vessel with his father to Boston, and one day 


when, walking by himself on Blackstone Street, 
he fell to deliberating on his course in life, and 
asking- himself " What am I to do ? " he came 
to the decision from which he never for a 
moment wavered, that he would enter the 
Christian ministry. It was not a hasty im- 
pulse but a slowly matured purpose, from 
which nothing could swerve him. 


The pastors of the little Provincetown parish 

during Dr. Ryder's boyhood were the Rev. 

Asahel Davis, 1830 to 1834, when he 

The Prov- ' . 

incetown was between the ages of eight and 

Pastors. , l t» /"i r\ t 

twelve ; the Rev. beorge (J. Leach, 
1834 ; and the Rev. John Bovee Dods, 1834 
to 1842. From the age of eight till he left 
home for school at eighteen, he undoubtedly 
received a deep impress from the pulpit, and it 
is possible that the influence of Mr. Dods may 
have given him the impetus that carried him 
into the Christian ministry. Mr. Dods was a 
man of wonderful power, who impressed all 
who came within his influence, and as he was 
pastor from the time the lad was twelve till 
he left home, it may be that the "bright, par- 
ticular star " in the village pastor's crown of 



rejoicing is the saintly man whose germ his 
zeal fertilized. Or, possibly, one of the earlier 
pastors. Davis, or Leach, may have given the up- 
ward direction to the boy's mind. The " word 
fitly chosen " sometimes falls with powerful 
effect on the young heart, changing its issues 
for life. — not the less powerful because unrecog- 
nized, perhaps never fully realized by speaker 
or hearer; so that many a humble pastor or 
teacher has as truly shaped a life by a good 
word or a fine example as sculptor ever wrought 
a statue. " Just as the twig is bent the tree 's 
inclined." The young mind receives the im- 
press of pastor or teacher, and long years after 
the senior survives in the life he has shaped, 
though he himself no longer dwells visibly 
among men ; for it must be said of him " whose 
voice has served mankind," — 

;i He is not dead whose glorious mind 
Lifts thine on high ; 
To live in hearts we leave behind 
Is not to die." 


The origin of the Provincetown church makes 
one feel that the hand of Providence shaped it. 
Seventy years ago, on Long Point, the tip of 


Cape Cod, near the site of the lighthouse, a 

little more than a mile from the centre of the 

town, there was a village of fisher- 

The Prov- ' . & 

mcetown men, no trace ot which now remains. 

Church. i» 1 1 i t 

Strange The occupants or the houses erected 
them on that lonely spot for the con- 
venience of their calling. From the bay on one 
side and the harbor on the other, the nets were 
always full. It was the custom of the children 
of the families to pick up small drift-wood along 
the shore, and sometimes curious articles were 
found among the flotsam and jetsam. One day 
the smaller children of a family brought home 
to their older sister, Elizabeth Freeman, a book, 
water- soaked and sandy, but whole. Elizabeth 
dried it by the fire, pressed out its leaves, and 
found it to be the " Life of John Murray." The 
young woman, after reading the book, em- 
braced the new-found sentiment. The father 
and mother followed her example. The book 
was loaned to neighbors and friends. Discus- 
sion in the neighborhood followed. Around the 
blazing; log-fires the deacons and others labored 
with the new converts ; the minister preached to 
them and at them ; and still the book was read 
and re-read. By and by a Universalist minister 
made his advent, and controversy and excite- 
ment went on "fast and furious." At lens-tb 


a society was organized, out of which grew the 
Church of the Redeemer, in Provincetown, an 
honored and a prominent church in our denomi- 
nation. Mrs. W. M. Smith, to whom I am 
indebted for these facts, says : — 

" It has been a beacon lisrlit on the shore, guiding 
to peace and hope many a sailor who had drifted from 
Evangelical moorings, and was tossing on a sea of 
doubt. Unknown and unnumbered are those who' 
have scattered the good seed, for Cape Cod boys and 
girls go all over the world, and no one can tell where 
they have carried the doctrine which the sea washed 
up to the feet of their fathers. Some of the descend- 
ants of Elizabeth Freeman, the first Universal ist, are 
still living and rejoicing in the faith bequeathed them. 
Oh, if we could all accomplish as great results by 
using fearlessly what the incoming tide brings every 
day to our feet ! " 

How mysterious are the ways of life ! A 
child picks a book out of the seaweed, and its 
message not only revolutionizes the thought of 
a family and neighborhood, and leads to the es- 
tablishment of a church, in that community, but 
it shapes the thought of a boy, who becomes 
one of the factors in the life of his times, and 
extends his influence through his benefactions 
down through long generations. For it is safe 
to say that but for the seemingly trifling inci- 


dent of the rescuing of that copy of the " Life 
of Murray," Capt. Godfrey Ryder would have 
followed the religion of his father, William 
Henry would not have been an hereditary Uni- 
versalist, and not only would our church have 
been without the rich contribution of his life- 
service, but our colleges, and divinity schools, 
and Publishing House would not have felt in 
the long future the force of his moulding 
hand. The rescuing that book, and the work 
of Doctor Ryder in the world, are two links in 
a chain on which how much depends ! 


The little Provincetown church has sent a 
laro-e number of ministers into the ministry, — 
Ministers perhaps a larger number than any 
born in other equal population has ever done. 
town, etc. rphg following names are recalled: 
W. H. Ryder, D. D., William Stull, Joseph Hat- 
ton Weeks, Wm. H. Rider, William Arnold, 
Charles Galicar. Gamaliel Collins, Charles W. 
Ryder, R. Perry Bush, Caleb E. Fisher, and 
W. W. Gleason. Most of these have been very 
successful, or give promise of useful work. 

The church edifice which was used in the boy- 
hood of Doctor Ryder has long since gone the 



way of all the earth, and a larger and better 
one now stands in the centre of the town ; a 
fine specimen of what may be called the New 
England Colonial style. 


In 1839, in his eighteenth year, he turned 
his steps toward an institution famous among 
Away to tne schools of New England, the Pem- 
Pembtke broke Academy, in New Hampshire. 

Academy. The ancient town of p embroke ig ft 

quiet, beautiful one, six miles from Concord, 
on the banks of the Merrimac. The main street 
stretches for three miles along the stream, 
and the town is handsome with fine dwellings 
and trees. The nearness to the State capital, 
the distance from the distractions and tempta- 
tions of city life, the beauty of the location and 
surroundings, and the excellence of the school, 
have for many years made Pembroke a favorite 
resort of the youth of New England. Here he 
attended school somewhat more than a year, 
acquiring the education he so much coveted, but 
in the second year his health gave way, and ut- 
terly broken down and discouraged, he feared 
that he might be compelled to return home, his 
purpose defeated, when he was found by a 


friend, and, through his kind offices was able 
with restored health, to resume his studies. 


He had already tried " his prentice hand " 
at sermonizing, and preached his first original 
His First sermon in the pulpit of the Rev. 
Sermon. Nathaniel Gunnison, father of the 
Rev. Dr. Aim on Gunnison, in 1841, in Man- 
chester, N. H., from the text in Isaiah lvii. 16 : 
" For I will not contend for ever, neither will I 
be always wroth." In his twentieth year he 
also preached several times in Concord, N. H. 


The Rev. Nathan R. Wright, of Lynn, Mass., 
at the venerable age of eighty-one, writes : — 

"Here in [Pembroke], amid these attractions, nat- 
ural and scientific, and well calculated to allure the 
Rev. N. R. thoughtful, aspiring mind, in the early 
yv rights summer of 1811 I first became acquainted 
ceuces. with William Henry Ryder. 1 was very 

much pleased with his general appearance ; his man- 
liness, frankness of speech, and the poise of the 
head, were indicative of force and determination. 
The language of his face was very expressive, and 


won my judgment. I made myself free to converse 
with him, and informed him that I had more calls to 
preach than 1 could answer, and asked him if he 
would supply for me when needed. He modestly 
said, ' I would.' I then adopted him as my 'son 
Timothy,' and soon sent him out as an ambassador 
for Christ. He won the people wherever he went, 
greatly to my joy, for I had marked him as possess- 
ing an ability that only needed developing and train- 
ing. Thus the good fellowship commenced that was 
as lasting as life. 

" About September word came to me that he was 
breaking down in body and mind. As soon as possi- 
ble I was at his side, and at once saw that a great 
change had come over him. The full cheek had lost 
its plumpness and color, and the face was haggard. 
I at once comprehended the cause, — overwork. He 
said he had consumed the midnight oil in the prepa- 
ration of his sermons and keeping up with his classes. 
A few words induced him to pack his trunk and repair 
to my quiet home in Dumbarton, sixteen miles away. 
In a few days he became a member of my family." 

Mr. Wright describes the change effected by 
the genial atmosphere of his home, and by the 
sensible treatment adopted to restore impaired 
force. The overwrought brain was given re- 
pose ; vigorous exercise, bathing, cheerfulness, 
and other hygienic remedies and restoratives 
were resorted to, and in a few weeks the young 
student was on the up-grade towards perfect 


health. During; those weeks he had become 
endeared to the family that had so kindly 
cared for him. When he went away all were 
sorry to part with him, and his heart over- 
flowed with gratitude. More than fortv years 
afterward, when Dr. Ryder drew his will, he 
remembered the good man who ministered to 
his need in his student days, and the love of 
the senior was shown in naming a son for his 
son in the faith. William Ryder Wright was 
one of those who in the time of his country's 
jeopardy went to the front, and gave new lustre 
to the name he bore by pouring out his life, a 
libation on his country's altar. Mr. Wright 
continues his interesting reminiscences thus : — 

" Soon after his graduation I met him in Boston. 
The meeting was like that of father and son. A few 
words from me opened a door in Concord, N. H., and 
I had the pleasure of taking part in his installation." 


Those who loved and reverenced him in his 

maturit}* will eagerly read all that is authentic 

concerning; his youth, and the follow- 

Incidents of . . 

student mg communicated bv Mr. Wright sub- 
Days . 

sequently to the preceding passages 

will be perused with interest : — 


"At my first interview I was very favorably im- 
pressed. There seemed to be mental' wealth not yet 
fully developed, that would enable him to make a 
legible mark. In the utterance of a few words he 
showed a depth of g 00 d-will toward mankind that I 
was sure would lead him to labor for the elevation of 
humanity. As he was in the dew of youth's early 
morning, I was surprised that one so young had made 
such progress. Without fear of his success I there- 
fore engaged him to supply for me three Sundays in a 
month during the warm season. As I followed him 
I was more than pleased to hear him spoken of in the 
most favorable terms. Wherever he went he gave 
great satisfaction. The universal language was : ' A 
very promising young man.' And he was as great a 
favorite in the homes of the people as in the pulpit. 
From all I heard I made up my mind that he was 
born a minister, not made to order in a theological 
school. Valuable as such training may be, it can- 
not manufacture brains. His appearance in the 
pulpit even then was easy, dignified, and pleasing. 
His entire demeanor, whether at home, or abroad, 
or in the house of God, insured him a hearty greet- 
ing. He loved humanity, and was devoted to 
friends, but the love of Christ and of God gave a 
conspicuous coloring to his demeanor, even in his 
young life." 

Mr. Wright recalls an incident that repre- 
sents the young student as he was when a 
mere youth : — 


" When he came to my quiet home in Dumbarton we 
were weaning our second son, — now Col. Carroll D. 
Wright, United States Commissioner of Labor. The 
deprivation filled the babe with grief, which he made 
known by the only means of communication he had 
acquired, sobs and tears. He found a sympathetic 
friend in the new-comer, who volunteered to occupy 
the position of nurse-maid. Without experience he 
seemed equal to the unaccustomed duties. He at 
once gained the confidence of the little one, and 
gravely assured him that he had passed safely 
through a similar trial, as all infants must, and 
therefore he should endeavor to submit with true 
baby courage. It was most amusing to hear him 
talk to the incipient colonel, especially when mu- 
tual harmony reigned, and the babe gazed earnestly 
into the smiling face above him. Even then he 
possessed an influence to soothe the perturbed spirit. 
And the novel employment was as beneficial to the 
senior as to the junior, for it took his mind away 
from himself, his illness and disappointment in ab- 
sence from school, and occupied it with the pleasure 
of helpfulness to another. His queer movements and 
quaint talk often moved the elders of the family 
to hearty laughter. " 

Those who remember how averse Dr. Ryder 
was to the management of a horse will be 
interested in Mr. Wright's account of his at- 
tempt to initiate him into the secret of horse- 
back exercise. He owned a fine animal, that 
was an exceedingly hard trotter, and the first 


lesson in riding was given on an unused road, 
that the exhibition might be strictly private. 
Mr. Wright says : — 

" The student was better qualified to prepare a boat 
for fishing than to equip a horse for riding, and could 
no doubt have steered a boat amid the waves with 
more success than he could have guided a horse. He 
knew just enough of the accomplishment to mount 
with his face looking in the right direction. Having- 
gained his giddy height of fourteen hands, with his 
feet in the stirrups, one hand 1 seized the long flow- 
ing mane, and the other clutched the bridle. But 
as soon as the horse began his jolting motion the 
salt-water boy was tossed on breakers harder than 
Atlantic waves, and was evidently in fear of a rough 
landing. He left the saddle at every jounce of the 
horse, and there was room between himself and the 
leather sufficient to receive a quintal of codfish. 
The bent form, loose rein, and soon both hands 
grasping the mane, and the entire appearance of the 
equestrian were far from encouraging to his teacher. 
He came in undamaged but demoralized, and was 
thereafter not enthusiastically in favor of riding, 
though he declared emphatically that it was excel- 
lent exercise ! He probably knew more of fishing- 
tackle and of Hebrew vowel-points than the young 
men of the neighborhood, but the rural boys could 
have distanced him in horse management." 

His name would seem a misnomer, and to 
have been given on the old principle, lucus a 
non lucendo. 



It is very difficult, if not impossible, for the 

present generation to realize the impediments 

in the path of a young; man who. 

Impediments x ° 

of Fifty fifty years ag;o, deliberately decided 

Years ago. J J . ... 

Public opiu- to enter the Universalist ministry. 
The only probable prospect before him 
was poorly requited toil, privation, and perse- 
cution. Universalism was the one bete noir 
of all the other sects. 


Even the Unitarians were divided as to the 
doctrines of endless punishment, the annihila- 
The Unita- tion of the wicked, and agnosticism 

riaii Position . , r , j , • -pv 

then. concerning man s future destiny. Dr. 

William Ellery Channing, who was so out- 
spoken against the horrors of Calvinism, never 
wrote or spoke a word in public to encourage 
the hope of universal salvation, and uniformly 
gave the cold shoulder to the Rev. Hosea 
Ballou, his near neighbor in Boston, when that 
great man — the most powerful and original 
theologian America has produced — fought the 
good fight of Christian progress almost single- 
handed, against a host actuated by a strange 


acrimony. The mass of American Unitarian 
preachers and writers not only refused to accept 
the conclusions of Universalis!; theologians, but 
utterly ignored the ministers of the broader 
faith. Pulpit exchanges were unknown be- 
tween Universalists and Unitarians. Not one 
among the latter was known to teach or be- 
lieve that the Bible inculcates the idea of the 
final deliverance of the entire human family 
from sin. 

In 1850 the writer of these words prepared 
an essay on the attitude of American Unitarians 
on the question of man's final destiny, and he 
found it impossible to cite the language of more 
than a very few who favored the Universalistic 
view. The Rev. A. A. Livermore, D. D., was 
one of the first to express the doctrine. But 
ten years earlier, when young William Henry 
Ryder stood looking into the future, and was 
deciding his life-career, not a spark of sympath}* 
could have been elicited from any recognized 
exponent of American Unitarianism by a young 
man preparing to enter the Universalist min- 
istry. Its efforts were regarded with indiffer- 
ence, or worse, disapprobation. 

At the very time when this youth was mak- 
ing his decision, his biographer, one year 
younger, having become convinced of the truth- 


fulness of Universalism. had decided to leave 
the Orthodox Congregational Church, of which 
lie was a member, but was uncertain whether 
to affiliate with Unitarianism, whitherward his 
social relations would have led him, or with the 
people called Universalists. While he was pon- 
dering the question, the Rev. Henry A. Miles, of 
Lowell, gave a series of expository discourses ; 
and on the subject of the destiny of mankind 
he declared the position of his denomination to 
be, that, while the heart hoped and reason 
suggested the possibility of man's universal 
deliverance from sin, the Scriptures are silent 
on the subject. Believing that no one who held 
to the inspiration of the Scriptures, as the Uni- 
tarian people then did, could be silent on this 
most vital theme, the writer soon saw that he 
could perform his life-work only with the Uni- 
versalist people, — to which conclusion he was 
materially aided by the Rev. Abel C. Thomas, 
then in the zenith of his brilliant career. At 
that time there was among; the Unitarians no 
hospitality for the great truth of man's universal 
deliverance from sin as a Bible doctrine. 


But if Unitarians were indifferent, the other 
denominations were hostile, not only to the new 


movement, the renascence of genuine Chris- 
tianity, but to all who accepted its doctrines. 
Religious The avowal of them was followed by 
Hostility. excommunication from the synagogue. 
Instead of being invited, and welcomed, as now, 
to enter the self-styled evangelical churches, 
with " all our imperfections on our heads," we 
were incontinently ejected from the commu- 
nion of those churches, if members, or refused 
admission, if suspected of the least disposi- 
tion to believe God better than they taught; 
the worst names in the vocabulary of secta- 
rianism were thrown at the advocates of the 
doctrine, and the organizations of the cause, 
of God's impartial goodness ; and those who 
accepted its truths were denounced as the en- 
emies of all good. It was held in such dis- 
repute that it required no little courage on 
the part of any young man to enlist under 
its white banner; and rare consecration and 
self-abnegation in one of devout spirit, lov- 
ing the respect of religious people, and anxious 
to labor with them for the welfare of the 
world, to choose a career that would subject 
him to conflict, opposition, and opprobrium 
from those whose sympathy and co-operation 
he craved. The young man who looks toward 
our ministry, now that our church has won its 


way to the recognition of the more intelligent 
in the best of the churches, can scarcely 
imagine the outrageous treatment to which, 
fifty years ago, the Universalist clergyman 
was subjected by those whose opposition was 
all the more unrelenting because conscientious. 
The young man who chose our ministry as his 
vocation made himself literally of '-no repu- 
tation." It may truthfully be said that the 
rise of no Christian movement has been attended 
on the part of others by such ignorance of its 
doctrines, so much misapprehension of their 
character and influence, such perversions of their 
teachings by public opponents, and so bitter 
a treatment of those who honestly believed 
them, — and for no other reason than because 
they believed and avowed them, — as met the 
early advocates of our faith. 


The author of this volume was excommuni- 
cated from the John Street Comrreo-ational 
The Author's Church, Lowell, Massachusetts, — the 
Experience. on ]y cnar g es against him having been 
a rejection of the articles of the creed avowing 
the doctrines of the Trinity, and Endless Pun- 
ishment, and " voluntary absence from the 


communion," which was a euphemistic way 
of saying that he attended the Universalist 
Church. And on the day of his trial the pastor 
refused to read a brief letter of defence from 
the accused, on the ground that he would not 
allow his mouth to be used as a vehicle of 
Universalisrn. The letter consisted almost solely 
of quotations of the Scriptures sustaining his 
new-found faith ! 


In those days there were almost no facilities 
for preparation for the ministry. Not a single 
Few Faciii- Universalist college or divinity school 
oiogiSi The " was m existence, and the aid of some 
Training. friendly clergyman to advise and di- 
rect a course of reading and study was all the 
help in preparation for the ministry for which a 
young man could hope. The most brilliant and 
successful of those who have adorned our clerical 
muster-roll even up to this date have left the 
farm, the workshop, the counting-room, and 
with most meagre outfit have entered on their 
arduous work, embarrassed through the earlier 
years of their professional toil by a lack of 
learning that it required subsequent years to 



One of the most astonishing phenomena 
in the development of theological sentiment is 
Changes in tne ^ ac ^ that ^he principles avowed, 
Opimon due ^ie important points of even mere 

to Universal- * * 

ism - scholarship established by these men 

who were self-made, and not trained scholars, 
have been accepted by the dominant sects, and 
not a single change in popular theology has 
been made during the last half-century that 
has not been in the direction of the positions 
established by the theologians of the Universal- 
ist Church. Then the great majority of the hu- 
man race was regarded as destined to welter 
to all eternity in a sea of literal fire, 

" Whose every wave breaks on a living shore, 
Heaped with the damned like pebbles." 

Election and Reprobation were preached in 
multitudes of pulpits without reserve. If a 
slight advance had been made from preceding 
darkness, so that no longer preachers were heard 
to say that " hell is paved with infants' skulls," 
or that "babes not a span long" are found 
writhing in endless torment, it was still taught 
and believed that infants are born into this 
world totally depraved, — in the language of 


Augustine, " one damned batch and mass of 
perdition " [conspersio damnata, massa jperdl- 
tionis), — and that, going out of life uncon- 
verted, they go into endless woe in consequence 
of the sin of Adam. 

Then nearly every partialist pulpit was an 
escape-valve of an imaginary nether world, a 
flue-hole of the fabled Tophet, and in lieu of 
being the rare exception, as now, the doctrine of 
endless damnation was the staple of preaching. 
Soon after the proclamation of our gospel a 
process of modification began that has steadily 
progressed with the growth of our church, until 
now the subject is rarely and apologetically 
treated, if at all. Then the popular preacher 
was he whose pulpit blazed with lurid fire, and 
who most zealously " dealt damnation round the 
land." Now the highest compliment is rendered 
by admiring followers when the preacher is 
styled "liberal," and when the hearer can say 
of his minister that he seldom titters a word to 
which any Universalist could object. Not only 
has the denomination of Universalists grown, 
but far more accept its doctrines in the opposing 
churches than in its own ranks. Literature is 
pervaded by its divine spirit, and everywhere 
its temper softens and sweetens the religious 
atmosphere ; while Orthodoxy, popularly so- 


called, in its worst form, no more resembles the 

orthodoxy of fifty years ago than, in the 

language of the late Rev. Dr. Chapin, " a 
domestic cat resembles a Bengal tiger." 


At the very time when the subject of this 
memoir was preparing himself for the ministry, 
Lowell besides individuals scattered among 

School of the n . , . , . 

Prophets. our clergymen, pursuing their studies 
preparatory to the Universalist ministry, there 
was a group of young men in Lowell, Massachu- 
setts, several of whom subsequently became Dr. 
Ryder's co-laborers and intimates, most of 
whom wrought in some calling that afforded 
them opportunity for study. They were under 
the direction of the Rev. Abel C. Thomas, the 
Rev. Thomas B. Thayer, and the Rev. Alonzo 
A. Miner, whose counsel was invaluable, whose 
example was a continual inspiration, and to 
listen to whom during years of study was a 
liberal education. Those who thus fitted them- 
selves, rather than were fitted, were George H. 
Emerson, Holden R. Nye, Alexander R. Abbott, 
Varnum Lincoln, Asa Spalding, Willard Spald- 
ing, Cyrus A. Bradley, J. W. Hanson, Daniel M. 
Reed, J. J. Putnam, Alfred Barnes, D. H. 
Jaques, "W. G. Cambridge; and Ezra B. Clarke, 


most of whom were at one time fellow-students 
in this extempore school of the prophets, and 
labored diligently and abundantly through the 
period that witnessed the emergence of our 
church from its twilight of obscurity to its 
establishment and permanence. Their experi- 
ence was similar to that of all who, before the 
era that witnessed the establishment of theo- 
logical schools and colleges among us, found 
the facilities for preparation for the work of 
the ministry meagre and inadequate. 


It was in the face of such obstacles that 
young Ryder resolutely addressed himself to 
the task of consecrating his abilities, his years, 
his life to the service of our church, and re- 
solved to enter that noblest of all professions of 
which he became so conspicuous a member and 
distinguished an ornament. 


In 1841 he went to Clinton, New York, where 
the celebrated Liberal Institute was located. It 
He Prepares was at that time under the distin- 

for the 

Ministry. guished Dr. Timothy Clowes, a supe- 
rior scholar, and here he obtained his first 


theological training;, and received the beginning 
of that education for the ministry which he 
never felt be had completed. 

"While prosecuting his studies here he often 
preached in the neighboring towns, and thus, 
while preparing for more sustained flights in 
the future, he tried his wings from time to 


On March 16, 1843, he obtained his letter of 
fellowship from the New Hampshire Convention 
, [o r.„ nK of Universalists, and at length, after 

rie renters 7 o ? 

the Ministry. c i ose anc [ diligent study, he acceded to 

installation o J > 

in Concord, ^he desires of his friends in Concord, 

>e\v Hamp- 7 

shire. New Hampshire, who had listened to 

him two years before, and in the Autumn of 
1843 he removed to his first pastorate in that 
beautiful city. He was ordained and installed 
as pastor on October 11, 1843. The Rev. G. 
W. Bailey, read the Scriptures ; the Rev. R. S. 
Sanborn offered the Introductory Prayer; an 
original hymn was contributed by the Rev. L. 
C. Browne ; the Rev. T. Barron offered the 
Ordaining Prayer ; the Rev. G. W. Gage gave 
the Charge ; the Rev. N. R. Wright gave the 
Right Hand of Fellowship, and the Rev. Henrv 
Jewell addressed the society. 


In November of that year he returned to his 
native town and was married to Caroline 
Frances Adams, — the Rev. Gamaliel Collins, 
subsequently chaplain U. S. A., performing the 
ceremony, and early in 1844 he began his 
pastoral life, — a career that occupied more 
than thirty-eight laborious, consecrated, use- 
ful, happy years, in four fields of toil, — Con- 
cord and Nashua, N. H., Roxbury, Mass., and 
Chicago, 111. 


At the time when Mr. Ryder began his min- 
istry many of our clergymen paid less attention 
iiis First t0 the cultivation of church life than 
Work,andhis£ polemics, but he at once, from choice 

Appearance J- 7 

in Youth. anc [ s enS e of duty, directed the em- 
phasis of his zeal to church work, and ever after 
made that department of labor the object of his 
chief interest and anxiety. 

The young pastor, then only in his twenty- 
second year, had the same dignified demeanor, 
joined with a pleasing suavity, that later years 
intensified. He at once secured general confi- 
dence in his judgment, and impressed his person- 
ality on his own people and on the general 
community. In the summer of 1844 the writer 


of this sketch, then a young theologue, for the 
first time in his life, after a twenty years' resi- 
dence in the city, paid his first visit to the coun- 
try en route to the White Mountains. Passing 
through Concord he called on the young dom- 
inie, and introduced himself. A delightful day 
and night were passed in the young minister's 
home, and the foundations were laid of a friend- 
ship that continued unchanged except with ever- 
deepening strength until death sundered the 


The Rev. T. W. Illman, pastor of the Concord 
church in 1891, writes, — 

" In 1841, before the society in this city was organ- 
ized, Mr. Ryder, then a student at Pembroke Academy, 
rp, R T a flourishing institution some seven miles 
W.Illman's below here, preached for the few Universal- 
ists who at that time were holding services 
in a hall. He had previously read a sermon else- 
where, which was his first attempt in the direction of 
preaching, — 'a schoolboy essay,' he afterward called 
it. He preached two Sundays for the Concord people. 
The sermons, like others by our preachers at that 
time, were of the controversial order, but had the 
peculiar Ryder ring. The people were greatly taken 
up with the boyish preacher, and declared they had 


never heard such sermons. . . . After two years at 
the Clinton Liberal Institute he returned to Concord 
to become, practically, the first settled minister of the 
new parish that had been formed early in 1842. 
After a few Sundays he went away and returned with 
a wife, who was a great favorite with the people. He 
boarded the first year with Mr. Nathaniel White, 
whose widow is still living. . . . Mrs. White describes 
him as a young man with bright, animated face, so 
full of fun that he had some difficulty to be what 
he thought duly dignified. ... He had the impressive 
voice and manner which were familiar to those who 
knew him in later years." 

Several fine sugar-maple trees near the church 
were planted by his industrious hands. 


Remaining two and a half years in Concord, 
Mr. Ryder accepted an invitation to Nashua, an 
His Na^ua older and a much larger field of labor, 

Ministry. an( j remove fl fo ^ ] atter p]ace ^ ^ 

autumn of 1845, and more than duplicated his 
successful labors in his first sphere of pastoral 
work. He was installed on Christmas, 1845, 
the Rev. Mr. Bulfinch (Unitarian) reading the 
Scriptures and offering the Introductory Prayer ; 
the Rev. A. A. Miner preaching the Sermon and 
giving the Charge, the Rev. Thomas Whittemore 


the Installing Prayer and Address to the Society, 
and the Rev. G. W. Gage, the Right Hand of 

The Rev. H. B. Smith, of Nashua, writes that 
the church in that city was remodelled and im- 
proved during his pastorate, and that the older 
people yet treasure his memory. He adds, — 

" He preached a sermon that is still fresh. It must 
have been a most forcible effort, for I have heard 
more about that one sermon than of any sermon ever 
preached in Nashua." 


All through the five years of his work in Con- 
cord and Nashua, the young minister had felt 
Voyage to himself handicapped by his meagre 
Europe. outfit, and he longed for further oppor- 
tunity for study, and in 1848 he resigned his 
Nashua pastorate for the purpose of study and 
foreign travel. He was one of the first in the 
long procession of our clergymen who have 
visited Europe and the Orient, and his visit was 
more protracted than the average tourist's, and 
combined systematic study with pleasure. He 
arrived in Liverpool in June, 1848, and on the 
24th inst. he preached for the celebrated Dr. 
Thorn. He remained a short time in Great 


Britain, spent seven months in Berlin, where he 
devoted himself to study, and then extended his 
travels to Greece, Palestine, Egypt, and back to 
Berlin. During this long absence of a year and 
a half he stored his mind with knowledge and 
experience, made the acquaintance of many 
distinguished Europeans, and returned better 
equipped for the great tasks to which he had 
pledged and consecrated his life. 

The return of a European voyageur in those 
days was an event, and on the approach of the 
absentee to his native town there was a s-reat 
demonstration. The captain of the packet had 
told the young man's mother — for the tele- 
graph was then far in the bosom of the future — 
that he would hoist all his flags whenever her 
William should take passage with him, and as 
the packet approached Provincetown everybody 
crowded down to the wharf, flags went up, and 
the whole town rejoiced at the return of the 
young man from abroad. 


In his Farewell Sermon in Chicago, in 1882, 
he says, — 

" My salary at Concord was 8450 per year. But 
that then did not seem to me a small sum ; and, be- 
cause everything else was cheap as well as ministers, 


we readily lived within our income. Those were 

not hard days in any sense of the word. We did 

not consider them such as we were pass- 

His Earlv , , ,, , T ,. 

Remiuis- nig through them, and I am sure that 
cences. those days were not any happier or better 

days than have been all the years since. . . . 

"Just at this point in my experience I read Bayard 
Taylor's ' Views Afoot ; or, Europe Seen with Knap- 
sack and Staff.' The book came to me as a divine 
message, and had to me the authority of a command 
to stop where I was and give myself time to grow. I 
discovered that I had commenced the work of the 
ministry at too early an age, and that I was attempt- 
ing to do what I had not the strength to perform. 
How clearly I recall the many conferences held in the 
family as to whether it was best for me to take this 
important step ! Was the voice I heard really a call 
for a better fitness for my life-work, or was it, after 
all, simply an excuse for indolence ? At last wife and 
I decided that it was best for me to go, and on the 
17th of April, 1848, I took passage in a sail vessel 
from New York, on what then appeared to me an al- 
most interminable journey. The months were long, 
and there were seemingly an extra number of them 
in that first year; but I am conscious of having 
worked hard, and of having widened my range of 
thought and sympathy." 


The young Concord minister's salary, though 
small, was quite above the average then obtained 



by beginners. This biographer inaugurated his 
ministerial work in Wentworth, N. H., where 
Ministerial he preached one half of the Sundays 
ATemin;7 of a year for $150, occupying one 
cence. fourth of the time in West Rumney 

for ,$75, and going wherever he had a call for 
the remainder, eking out a support for himself 
and his mother by teaching a winter school. 
For one Sunday he received the munificent com- 
pensation of fifty cents. Let the name of the 
town that made this contribution, probably as 
much as the commodity purchased was worth, 
be handed down to a grateful posterity, — Pier- 
mont, N. H. 


Immediately on his return from Europe Mr. 
Ryder received a call to Roxbury, Mass., now 
His Roxbury a P art of Boston. The church was 

Ministry. t ^ Qn ag nQW Qne Qf q ^ J argegt and 

most prosperous churches. Here he spent a 
decade of years, —years brilliant in the history 
of that church, — and by his zeal and devoted- 
ness he not only won the attachment of the 
large flock that filled the spacious auditorium, 
but also attracted the attention and commanded 
the regard of the general community. 



He was installed on March 10, 1850. The 
Rev. Thomas Starr King read the Scriptures, 
the Rev. T. D. Cook offered the Introductory 
installation Prayer, the Rev. C. H. Fay preached the 
inRoxbury. Sermon, t j ie p teV- Sebastian Streeter 
offered the Installation Prayer, the Rev. A. A. 
Miner gave the Charge, the Rev. John G. Adams 
offered the Right Hand of Fellowship, the Rev. 
Hosea Ballou, 2d, addressed the society, and the 
Rev. John T. Sargent offered the Concluding 
Prayer. A suggestive line at the close of &he 
notice announces that "omnibuses will convey 
people to and from Boston; " for the time of the 
electric cars and horse tram was yet in the 


Soon after removing to Roxbury Mr. Ryder was 
elected to a membership on the Board of Edu- 
cation, and at once took a commanding 

Roxbury . . . 

School position. He mastered the principles 

and details of the office, and became 
very efficient in the performance of its duties. 
He secured the best of teachers and rules of 
government, and was an acknowledged power 


in educational matters. Many interesting inci- 
dents might be recorded showing his tact, judg- 
ment, decision of character, and perfect fitness 
for the place of School Committee. One char- 
acteristic incident is remembered : a teacher 
had been deposed in his absence, and believing 
that the suspended one had been unjustly dealt 
with, lie set about ferreting out all the facts of 
the case ; and carrying them before the Board, 
he succeeded in reversing the unjust decision, and 
triumphantly reinstated the deposed teacher. 
His love of justice was so intense that he would 
hesitate at no obstacle, however great, and 
pause at no amount of opposition when he felt 
sure that injustice had been done. 

An instance may be recorded of his entirely 
unsectarian spirit in the conduct of the schools. 
An " orthodox " teacher of excellent qualifica- 
tions applied for a position to the Congrega- 
tional and to the Baptist clergymen who were 
on the School Board. They failed to urge her 
claims with success ; but Mr. Ryder, who was 
sure of her fitness, so exerted himself in her be- 
half that he secured her lasting gratitude and 
demonstrated his own qualification for the posi- 
tion he held by procuring for her a school. In 
educational, as in all other matters, he was 
eminently judicial, and it is doubtful if he 


ever permitted the thought of theological differ- 
ence or harmony to disturb the balance of his 


On all the questions of the clay Mr. Ryder was 
out-spoken. At that time the zealous advocate 
Reform °^ anti-slavery or temperance met with 
Efforts. violent opposition. It cost something 
to be faithful and true in the pulpit. Many a 
pastor who felt compelled to apply the principles 
of the Gospel to those great questions found 
that some of his prominent members were 
angry and alienated, and many a church was so 
weakened by the defection of those who were 
displeased that the faithful preacher was forced 
to leave his congregation. No man was more 
frank and true to his convictions than was he ; 
few spoke in more clarion tones on the great 
evils of the times ; yet he never seemed to speak 
as a partisan, but always from the high vantage- 
ground of duty. Moreover, he exercised the 
greatest tact, so that those who were offended 
at his utterances were very few. Radical and 
uncompromising as he was alwaj-s, he was so 
conspicuously Christian in tone and spirit that 
he did not lose his influence for good, even with 
those who were on the wrong side. 




A characteristic sermon was published in June, 
1850, in the " Trumpet." It was preached be- 
Sermons and f° re tne Reform Association during 

Addresses. ann i versary week> j t iUuatrates nQ ° 

only his own thought, but that of his denomi- 
nation, at the time when many men, North and 
South, thought that "God's image in ebony" 
had no rights that white men were bound to 
respect. Before the echoes of Daniel Webster's 
7th of March speech had died away young 
Ryder was compelled to say that " religious prej- 
udice against the colored man our religion com- 
pels us to put away." And he declared that just 
as far as he felt unkind to the colored man he 
was unfit for the Christian ministry. And he 
voiced the sentiment of his brethren, who were 
almost a unit in those days, when the opinions 
were forming that resulted in the emancipation 


During his residence in Roxbury a colored 
woman and her daughter were in his family, 
Practical tne mother being the house servant 

Humanity. Thfi ^ ^^ ^ ^^ ^^ 

and in those days of anti-slavery agitation no 


little colorphobia prevailed among some of the 
school children ; and they so persecuted the girl, 
whose crime consisted in being " guilty of a 
skin not colored like their own," that the 
mother felt that she should be compelled to re- 
move her from the school. Mr. Ryder at the 
time was on the school board, and he went with 
the mother and daughter to the school and ad- 
dressed the children in such terms as caused 
them to desist from their petty cruelty. Occa- 
sionally one of them would exhibit some of the 
ugly spirit, when the rest would cry out that 
they must not molest the minister's child. His 
voice and manner of expostulation and con- 
demnation were such as to convince the voung 
persecutors that the consequences of continuing 
to harry the dark-skinned girl would be serious 
to themselves. Those who knew the man will 
not need to be told that all his sympathies and 
energies were as vigorously enlisted in behalf of 
a despised negro as they would have been in a 
cause that had power and influence at its back. 
Injustice was always the one foe that more than 
any other aroused his indignation and called 
forth his intensest opposition. The mother is 
yet living, and relates that when going to her 
church she would walk by the Universalist 
church on her way to her own, the Methodist ; 


while the pastor and Mrs. Ryder would conduct 
their daughter and the colored girl to our own 
church, and to the Sunday-school, where the 
two children would sit side by side. The little 
colored girl was dedicated to God by him, with 
as much satisfaction as though she had been 
white. The mother relates that Mr. Ryder 
would sometimes remark as they separated at 
our church and she continued her journey : 
" Lizzie, the time will come when we shall not 
separate, and go different ways." 

This incident is akin to that related of Presi- 
dent Lincoln, when he stooped and kissed the 
colored child, and thus proved himself entirely 


In anniversary week of 1852 the "Trumpet" 
declared that Mr. Ryder's speech on the Maine 
Outside Law was " the speech of the day on 
Labors. ^his topic, — plain, straight, firm, and 

In the following year, at the anniversary fes- 
tival, his discourse on training children created 
a marked impression. 

He was always a favorite speaker at the meet- 
ings during anniversary week. In 1854 he 
responded to the sentiment, " Our clergy." 


At the anniversary meeting in the year 1856, 
he spoke to the following sentiment : — 

"The Brotherhood of Believers — Although we meet 
in the name of a particular branch of the church of 
Christ, we recognize the truth in all communions, and 
honor holiness of purpose and purity of heart wher- 
ever we find them." 

The chairman, Hon. J. D. W. Joy, said, — 

" I find in the dictionary one definition of the word 
'rider' to be, 'in shipbuilding, a kind of interior rib 
bolted to the timbers to strengthen the frame.' Now 
the Universalist ship has a Ryder, a kind of interior 
rib, bolted to her timbers, and does he not strengthen 
her frame ? I introduce Rev. W. H. Ryder, of 

In the course of Mr. Ryder's speech he 
said, — 

" There is room enough in the world for us ; if 
there is not we must make room enough. "We re- 
spectfully decline going about, as Robert Hall once 
said, ' with an air of perpetual apology for the unpar- 
donable presumption of being in the world.' ... If 
we run down the whole scale of religious agencies we 
shall find harmony in every note. From the Calvinist 
to the Socialist, from the hide-bound Conservative 
to the loose-skinned Radical, through all grades of 
organized and individual action, honestly directed to 
worthy ends, there are noble men and women sin- 



cerely laboring to establish Christ's kingdom on earth, 
— to do good in their day and generation. In the 
name of that good we salute you, brothers, sisters, 
in the Christian work! Joining hands we reach 
round the globe, holding the world of man in our sym- 
pathies, and unitedly acknowledging our allegiance 
to the Son of Cod." 

The speech was a characteristic one, firmly 
Universalistic on the one hand, and on the 
other ideally broad and Christian. 

Among his many labors outside of his parish 
was a lecture on the Huguenots, delivered on 
Feb. 1, 1857, of which the " Boston Journal" 
said, "one of the best of the season." 

Feb. 22, 1857, a valuable watch was pre- 
sented to him, and a purse of money and 
other gifts to Mrs. Ryder, at a reception at his 

His Roxbury friends published a large and 
handsome lithograph of him in 1858. 


Few Christian pastors ever exerted a more 
powerful and healthful sway over the young 
influence on than dicl Mr. Ryder. They were the 
the Young. spec i a i objects of his solicitude, and he 
exerted himself to attract them to his church, 
and with great success. Young men who have 


achieved eminence in affairs, and whose char- 
acters have been examples, attribute the turn- 
ing of their feet into the right path to the 
power of his words and example, and have re- 
membered his counsel and admonition all their 
lives. There are indeed many yet living, who 
were attendants at the Roxbury church from 
1850 to 1860, who never hear his name men- 
tioned but with gratitude and veneration. 

This good influence was largely wrought 
through the Sunday-school. Such aids as the 
" Sunday School Helper," institutes, and the 
many instrumentalities now so useful had not 
been thought of, and the efficiency of the Sun- 
day-school was obtained only through the de- 
votedness of a pastor and his allies. Here 
the Roxbury minister was a host in himself, 
and he had the happy faculty of making his 
good example contagious. He prided himself 
on reading every book in the library, and on ex- 
pelling all volumes unfit for the young. He 
even made his home the rendezvous of the 
teachers and workers, and there they covered, 
repaired, and replenished the library. His own 
hands and those of his faithful partner aided by 
willing coadjutors were busy in working for 
the school, and teachers' meetings became nor- 
mal institutes, in which his co-workers were 


taught and drilled for their duties. The work 
he did and stimulated others to do for the per- 
fection of the Roxbury Sunday-school is yet 
remembered by some of those who participated 
in it and profited by it, as the most faithful and 
successful Sunday-school work ever known by 
them. He was interested in all, and the friend 
and helper of all ; and of those living to-day, 
no other name among the eminent and beloved 
men who have filled the Roxbury pulpit holds 
a deeper or warmer place in their hearts. 


An interesting incident, one of a number that 
would fill volumes if recorded, illustrates the 
a striking vigilance with which the Roxbury 
illustration. p as t r looked after his people, par- 
ticularly the young, and the visible result. 
Just before he left Roxbury he waited upon a 
young man who attended the church, and urged 
him to join the church. A less conscientious 
pastor might have reasoned that his work was 
about done, and would have left to his suc- 
cessor the task of adding to the church. But he 
felt that his work was not finished as long as 
work remained to do. His advice was followed. 
That young man joined the church and worked 
in the Sunday-school, and when the war came 


followed his country's flag to the front. Badly 
wounded, he returned and continued, and does 
to this day continue, his interest in the Roxbury 
church. And the good impulse he received he 
has passed on, for a son of his was graduated at 
Tufts College in 1891, and designs to enter our 
ministry. Who can say that the good work 
the son shall do as a Christian minister does 
not flow directly from the faithful and kindly 
word spoken by the retiring pastor ? And who 
can estimate the waves of propulsion that pro- 
ceeded from his voice, not only moulding the 
lives with which he directly communicated, but 
passing on to other lives, and so adding to the 
world's richest wealth ? What a model for the 
young clergyman to study ! 

Mr. Ryder's chief solicitude was always with 
the young. His anxiety for the welfare of the 
young men and women of his flock was con- 
tinual, until, to use his own words, " they are 
faced right." " If I can only have them facing 
in the right direction," he was in the habit of 
saying, " I have no further anxiety." 

The ideal Christian pastor, who makes him- 
self familiar with all his people, who enters into 


their joys and sorrows, — especially if, like his 
Master he becomes their burden-bearer, and in 
The ideal tne trne sense vicariously suffers with 

Pastor. t j iem j Q t | leip g r j e f g anc | sorrowSj — 

who, like Christ when he mourned with Martha 
and Mary at Bethany, and like him in Cana 
of Galilee, can stand sympathetically by the 
coffined dead and utter the gracious words of 
consolation, and rejoice with his people in their 
festivities, is one who fulfils the highest func- 
tion of the Christian ministry, and is one of 
the most useful of men. Such, pre-eminently, 
in the Eoxbury days and always after, was Mr. 
Ryder. He knew his people intimately, under- 
stood the idiosyncracies of each, and with a won- 
derful tact held himself in such relations w^ith 
all that they turned to him almost instinctively 
as their " guide, counsellor, and friend." It was 
sometimes said that he knew " every ache and 
pain of every member of the parish." And not 
only did he really feel a genuine sympathy, but 
he had the faculty of making each one sure 
that he had a personal interest, and was an 
attached and sympathetic friend, and was not 
merely officially discharging professional and 
perfunctory duties. 

He never appeared to recognize disagreeable 
weaknesses and defects, though his penetrating 


perception of character enabled him to see 
human faults and failings. But he looked on 
them with " larger, kindlier eyes " than others, 
and the dew of melting charity suffused them 
as he regarded human faults and failings. Thus 
he could say the word that carried with it the 
soul of equity, while it gently encouraged to 
better ways. In any difficulty or trouble his 
parishioners resorted to him with confidence in 
his judgment. He was the wise adviser in busi- 
ness perplexities, in moral doubts and anxieties ; 
and old and young; had imdoubting faith in his 


judgment. Like Goldsmith's "Village Parson," 

" E'en children followed with endearing wile, 
And plucked the good man's gown to share his smile." 

But if Mr. Ryder was the welcome guest in 
every home in ordinary times, he was thrice 
welcome in the hour of sickness, death, bereave- 
ment. If he had caught any one phase of his 
Master's character more than another, it was 
his relation of Consoler. Comforter. 

"When the day of sorrow came to any one 
who had enjoyed his ministrations, the afflicted 
one turned to him to speak the word that 
should assuage the stroke of calamity. No 
other voice could so fill the soul at such a time, 
and help the aching heart to bear its burden. 


His words, his presence at the bedside of the 
dying and in the circle of the bereaved, cooled 
the fever of sorrow as few others could, and 
not only among those of "like precious faith," 
but among those of other churches and with 
the great multitude of the unchurched that 
throng a great city, and seek the Universalist 
pulpit for help and hope, he was called upon to 
visit the sick and bury the dead. His solemn 
and sonorous voice, carrying in its rich cadences 
the consolations of religion, was to the mourner 
a realization of the Prophet's words : " How 
beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of 
him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth 
peace." During the ten years in lloxbury, and 
the more than twenty years of his active min- 
istry in Chicago, probably no other man in those 
cities stood in the house of mourning so many 
times, or was able to speak to more hearts the 
word that kindled the rainbow of hope on 
the cloud of sorrow, and gave "the oil of joy 
for mourning, and the garment of praise for 
the spirit of heaviness." He had the love of 
his people, and those who knew him best loved 
him most, and this is the best tribute to the 
excellence of men : — 

" The work men do is not their test alone ; 
The love they win is far the better chart." 


Rarely has the Christian pastor been more 
the representative of the Prince of Peace, one 
who imparted — 

" Faith to the friend, and to the neighbor peace, 
That love might live and quarrels all might cease." 

His influence and life as a pastor were as a — 

" Prayer for the health of all that are diseased ; 

Confession unto all that are connected, 
And patience unto all that are displeased, 

And comfort unto all that are afflicted, 
And mercy unto all that are offended, 
And grace to all, that all may be amended." 


One of his Roxbury flock bears this testimony 
to the deep and abiding influence Mr. Ryder ex- 
His rersonai er t e d, anc ^ indicates how far-reaching 
inOuence. were his words, that not only shaped 
the thought and feeling and life of those to 
whom he directly spoke, but radiated from 
them into other hearts and lives. It is but 
one of hundreds of similar testimonies that 
might be cited, and the young pastor may 
well study it as an object-lesson. Writes Mrs. 
L. F. Richardson : — 

" I always think of Dr. Ryder as my ideal minister ; 
a sacred person, truly consecrated to the service of 


God and the ministry of our Lord and Saviour Jesus 
Christ, loyal to his church, desiring ever to make it 
more honorable, more glorious, fit to be called ' the 
Bride of Christ.' I believe it was first of all his 
heart's desire to win and save souls. And his preach- 
ing was with power. He opened the door of the 
kingdom of heaven to me, and to many others of the 
Roxbury church, making the call of God so real, 
and the heavenly way so attractive that we could not 
choose but enter, and following him, feel sure that we 
were guided in the way that leads to God and eternal 
life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. I think of him 
as a ' bright particular star' in our spiritual horizon, 
one of those of whom it is written : ' They that be 
wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, 
and they that turn many to righteousness as the 
stars, forever and ever.' " 


An historical discourse by the Rev. Dr. Pat- 
terson, one of Mr. Ryder's successors in the 
, „ „ Roxbury pastorate, pronounced Jan. 4, 

The Rev. Dr. J L \ L 

Patterson's 1871, at the semi-centennial of that 

Testimony. . 

organization, pays the following trib- 
ute to his Roxbury ministry : — 

" He entered the field bringing with him a rare com- 
bination of ministerial qualities. To the zeal and 
fervor of youth he added a well balanced and well- 
disciplined mind, sound common-sense and discretion, 


dignity of character and manners quite beyond his 
years, accurate and impressive elocution, a genial 
disposition that warms and wins, and an entire con- 
secration to the work of the ministry. He came with 
his mind and heart rested, refreshed, intensified by 
travels in Europe and the Holy Land, glad to be at 
home again, and longing to resume the duties of his 
profession. He was in the very best condition of 
body and mind to make a successful beginning in a 
new field of labor. He did not go about his work as 
a duty, but he engaged in it with exquisite pleasure. 
He enjoyed intensely — partly from constitutional 
fitness, and partly from the elastic condition he was 
in — what seems to other men and under other cir- 
cumstances the drudgery of pastoral life. Accord- 
ingly he became the intimate friend, the familiar 
companion, as well as the acceptable preacher. Few 
ministers ever experienced a more happy, harmonious, 
or successful pastorate ; few ever left behind them 
sweeter, tenderer, or more sacred memories. . . . The 
high pulpit of the olden time was taken down. The 
old square pews were exchanged for the more grace- 
ful circular slips of modern times. The inner tem- 
ple, too, was renovated, — the temple of the Holy 
Ghost. Souls flocked to the altar of the church and 
received the sprinkling of baptismal water, and sat 
down with great joy around the table of a com- 
mon Master. One hundred and thirty-six mem- 
bers were added to the church during Mr. Ryder's 



In his address at the Roxbury semi-centen- 
nial, in January, 1871, after eleven years in 
Chicago, he declared that his ten years 

His Roxbury & ' . J 

Years. in Roxbury were in his memory " lu- 

minous with pleasant recollections." And in 
his farewell sermon in Chicago, in 1882, he 
said : — 

" Roxbury was literally a home to us. Here our 
daughter — our only child — was born, and here for 
ten years I devoted myself vigorously to professional 


Few men in our ministry had more thoroughly 
secured the confidence of the people of our com- 
n n„i t „ munion in all the region round Boston, 

Called to o 

Chicago. tn e Mecca of Universalism, than had 
the Roxbury pastor, when, at the zenith of J^is 
success and at the age of thirty-eight, he turned 
his footsteps towards the setting sun, — he hav- 
ing in the autumn of 1859 received and accepted 
an urgent invitation to remove to Chicago. 
The " Trumpet " of Oct. 29, 1859, said : — 

" Brother Ryder, of Roxbury, has decided to remove 
to Chicago, Illinois. Farewell, brother ! We are sorry 


to have } t ou leave New England, but our loss will be 
somebody's gain. You will always be true to the cause, 
wherever you are." 

The Roxbury society unanimously requested 
him to remain, but he had for some time been 
persuaded that the bronchial difficulty that had 
long annoyed him required the change from the 
seaboard to an inland home. The year before, 
he had been compelled to an enforced rest on 
account of a severe and distressing attack that 
disabled him. Indeed, he had for years, at times, 
been troubled with a serious bronchial disturb- 
ance. And thus he closed an honorable and a 
useful record, stretching through a decade of 


Mr. Ryder entered upon the labors that were 

destined to be the most important of his life 

Jan. 8, 1860. He was formally in- 

His Chicfi°"o 

Ministry. c stalled February 7. The Rev. J. S. 
Dennis, of Dubuque, Iowa, preached 
the Installing Sermon ; the Rev. Dr. Otis A. 
Skinner, of Joliet, 111., addressed the society ; 
and the Rev. J. H. Tuttle, pastor of the Church 
of the Redeemer, gave the Right Hand of Fellow- 
ship. The pastorate thus begun was one of the 


longest and most successful ever known in Chi- 
cago, extending from January. I860, to April, 
1882, twenty-two years and three months. 


Those were the most extraordinary years 
through which any city ever passed, when the 

Notable Years ^ re ' tne war > an d the unexampled 
in Chicago, growth are considered. Dr. Ryder 

found a population of 150,000, and saw it in- 
creased sevenfold, to more than 1,000,000. He 
found the city wood and brick ; he left it stone 
and marble. He saw it swept, with the besom 
of destruction, and rise in fairer beauty from the 
ashes of desolation. He saw a scattered and 
disheartened church sitting by the streams of 
Babylon, its harp on the willows; he left it 
among the first in the city, and in the de- 

Dr. Ryder's zeal and ability at once infused 
courage into the hearts of the people, and the 
church increased in numbers and influence till 
it reached a commanding position, and became, 
perhaps, the most representative church in the 
order, certainly in the West, and he the most 
representative clergyman. His wisdom, tact, 
earnestness, and consistency not only built up 


his own church, but did more than can ever be 
known toward producing the prosperity .experi- 
enced by our cause in the city and its environs, 
and in the towns and cities near and remote that 
he personally visited, and to which his name 
extended as the foremost man in the church in 
the West. And to-day, ten years after he ceased 
to be pastor, St. Paul's is popularly known as 
Dr. Ryder's church ; and each minister since he 
served has been styled Dr. Ryder's successor. 


During the year in which he removed to 
Chicago he received the honorary degree of 
Honors con- A.M. from Harvard University; and 
ferred. in } 3(33 fl^ degree of D.D. from 

Lombard University, Galesburg, Illinois. The 
latter degree always seemed to his friends to 
belong to him. If some achieve degrees, and 
others have degrees thrust upon them, he seemed 
a born doctor of divinity. Of him it may be 
said as truly as of any man, nascitur, non fit, — 
born, not made. 


When Dr. Ryder removed West many of his 
old friends thought he was taking a very inju- 
dicious step. In his farewell sermon he said : — 


" As I look back over these years I distinctly 
remember that when 1 turned my face toward Chicago 
Effect of re- J was n0 * quite satisfied that I was acting 
moving west. w i se i y . The field was new to me. And 
then Chicago was so far from Boston. ' Would I be 
happy there ? ' ' Would I like the " rough ways " of 
these Western people ? ' Questions like these troubled 
me a good deal. One of my stanch Roxbury friends 
told me with emphasis that he would give me just six 
months to get back to New England ; and a Boston 
merchant, who had probably sold goods in this market 
to poor-paying customers, said to me : ' Do not be 
deceived by the offer of a large salary; if you get 
half they promise, you will do better than most of us 
have done.' " 

He had always dwelt in his native New 
England, and seemed perfectly fitted and adapt- 
ed to its ways. And the genuine New Englander 
who has not left that little corner of our national 
domain, especially Boston and its environs, is 
apt to suppose that no other locality offers so 
desirable a field, especially for the cultured 
clergyman. But he found, as many others have 
experienced, that while New England is an 
admirable nursery, there are wider realms in 
which to grow, and broader fields in which to 
develop a strength and ability that the less 
exacting needs of New England would not 
educe. In other words, as Stephen A. Douglas 


said of Vermont, New England " is a good place 
to go from." So Dr. Ryder found it. Released 
from the beaten paths and conservative ways of 
Boston and New England, and located in the 
wide and unconventional West, he was like the 
young tree transplanted from the nursery. He 
was thrown upon his own resources. He was 
taxed in every direction. Demands on his time 
and strength, his intellect and energy, beset him 
on all sides ; and he honored the exactions, and 
broadened and deepened. Calls came to him 
from all quarters of the rapidly developing 
region round about ; and his presence was in 
demand at State conventions, mass meetings, 
dedications, ordinations, and other gatherings of 
his brethren ; while multitudinous calls came 
from the general public of Chicago for his aid 
in the moral and humanitarian movements then 
being inaugurated in the young and growing 


The Rev. Dr. J. H. Tuttle, for twenty-five 

years pastor of the Church of the Redeemer in 

Minneapolis, Minnesota, was a yoke- 

TheRev. Dr. . r . . ' _ . . _,. . J . 

Tuttie's fellow with Dr. Ryder in Chicago tor 

six years, from 1860 to 1866. These 

two eminent clergymen met at the great General 


Convention in Rochester on their way to Chicago 
in 1859. Dr. Tuttle says : — 

" It was at this notable gathering that I first saw 
and heard Rev. W. H. Ryder. One of his speeches I 
distinctly remember; it thrilled everybody in the room. 
His voice and manner made a lasting impression on 
me. That was more than thirty years ago, but I see 
him, as he appeared then, before me now ; and I hear 
those majestic sentences which almost shook the roof 
in some of their climaxes, which swept like a sea- 
storm over us, setting in motion great waves of 
feeling. Such a shower of eloquence is seldom heard 
anywhere, in any assembly. It seemed to me that I 
had never listened to a richer voice, nor witnessed a 
more effective style of delivery. . . . 

" At this same convention were two men, trustees, 
— A. G. Throop, and H. B. Lewis, from the Second 
Church in Chicago, who had come to make inquiries 
regarding the writer of this sketch, then pastor of the 
First Universalist Church in Rochester, and if they 
found things favorable, to invite him to take charge 
of the people they represented ; and so it happened 
that Mr. Ryder and myself moved to Chicago about 
the same time, he to occupy a pulpit on the east and 
south sides, and I one on the west side. Our churches 
were two miles or more apart. . . . He began his 
pastorate on the first Sunday in January, I860 ; I 
began mine a few weeks earlier. . . . 

"Its large congregation possessed a conspicuous, 
handsome house of worship, and was justly considered, 


intellectually and socially, entitled to the services of 
a great preacher; and such a one they found in Mr. 
Ryder. He at once took high rank among the Chicago 
clergy. He soon became a familiar figure in the 
streets and at public gatherings, — a centre of power 
also wherever he spoke or moved. He always carried 
about with him an air of dignity which comported 
well with his profession and his position, and while 
it suggested nothing cynical, kept most persons from 
trifling with him and from stealing his time. He was 
grave but not sour. He could joke and be merry at 
times, but he was never caught outside of the lines of 
propriety, and he never set up sacred things as a mark 
for jesting. . . . His features were plain, perhaps, 
but they almost always wore a fascinating smile, and 
no one who once glanced at them doubted that they 
were the transparent covering of a strong character. 
If his words seemed a little cold, and even slightly 
repelling, on certain occasions, his good-natured eyes 
immediately asked your forgiveness and reassured you 
of his kind intentions. 

" Mr. Ryder was a great preacher when he came to 
St. Paul's, but he rose rapidly into a greater one. His 
step from Roxbury to Chicago proved to be a decided 
ascent,— not because the latter place occupied a higher 
intellectual level, but because it opened to him new 
opportunities, and because he caught fresh inspirations 
from the younger, busier life of the West. The West- 
ern air doubtless accelerated the motion of his blood, 
and his mental pulse beat as much faster. The church 
and the city demanded all that was in him ; and there 


was more in him than his Eastern friends, who admired 
and loved him, had imagined. He came West, not to 
brag of the East, but to put what he brought with him 
into what he should find, and make a compound greater 
than either, if possible. Uniting his Boston culture 
with Chicago activity and ruggedness, his Puritan 
sombreness with the more cheerful life of this more 
youthful country, he gained in strength and breadth 
and freedom." 


After two months in Chicago, Feb. 29, 1860, 

Dr. Ryder wrote to his friend A. W. Newman, 

in Roxbury, who is still active in the 

Letter to J 

a. w. New- Roxbury Church, and whose regard for 
the memory of his former pastor is 
deep and strong after thirty-one years : — 

" Two months are now past since we parted, and I 
am getting somewhat introduced to my new home. 
The people are no longer all strangers, nor is there 
longer any danger of my having to inquire the way 
every time I go out. What a change in my surround- 
ings these two months have wrought ! I can hardly 
realize at times where I am, or what I am doing here. 
Since my installation I feel a little more fully my 
identity with this city, — realize in part that this is 
my home. Time, I hope, added to a deeper interest in 
individuals, and a more entire appreciation of what I 
have to do here, will more completely centralize my 


affections, and give me that contented, patient spirit of 
labor which for so many years I enjoyed in Roxbury. 
Speaking to you as a good and loving friend just as I 
feel, I cannot say that in anything 1 have been disap- 
pointed, or at any time felt to regret that I came here 
to live. Tbe people have done all that could have 
been expected, have treated me with kindness, and 
seemingly appreciated the obligations resting on them 
in calling us from so pleasant a home. . . . 

" Have we then almost forgotten Roxbury ? Just as 
likely that, as that I have almost forgotten my parents 
because I have moved bodily a little further from 
them. Not a day but that in some way the name 
comes up, — some dear friend there is mentioned, 
some chord of love vibrates to a recollection associated 
with that place." 


In addition to this he was hardly well estab- 
lished in his new field, when the War of the 
The Civil Rebellion broke out, and his soul 
War. glowed with a patriotic fervor that 

found expression in continual appeals to the 
loyalty of the people. St. Paul's sent a large 
number into the war. Many of them were in- 
spired to offer themselves to their country by 
the stirring words of their eloquent pastor ; and 
some of the most moving addresses made to the 
young heroes on the eve of their departure for 


the South were from his lips. Many a young 
man remembered his exhortations, and was the 
truer and nobler because of them. General 
A. C. McClurg. then a youthful captain, since 
the head of one of the largest publishing 
houses of the country, tells this biographer 
that on his departure for the seat of war 
a stand of colors was presented to his com- 
pany, and it was his duty to accept them 
in a speech in behalf of his command. His 
voice trembled, and his embarrassment was 
evident. Called upon to follow him, Dr. Ryder 
made reference to his embarrassment, and 
turned it to his praise instead of to his hu- 
miliation, by 'saying that such sensitiveness 
would be sure to appreciate the higher duties 
of the field of action to which he was goino-, 
and that such a young man would be all the 
braver in the hour of danger for his sensi- 
tiveness then. The young man not only carried 
the memory of those encouraging words into the 
war as a cheering message, but recalled them 
with respect and affection for their author after 
he had laid down the burden of life, and the 
young soldier's head had whitened with the 
snows of years. 



In his farewell sermon he thus alludes to 
those dark and troublous times : — 

" I had been in Chicago scarcely a year when Fort 

Sumter was fired upon and the War of the Rebellion 

inaugurated. Do any of you remember the 

Dr. Rvder's . . . _, 

War Memo- evening service or that Sunday when the 
news of the firing upon Fort Sumter first 
reached this city ? Well, we have this to say, now 
that the struggle is all over : the church was loyal 
through every hour of that long conflict ; and I do not 
hesitate to declare, in the presence of any and all who 
know the facts, that the pulpit of St. Paul's, while in 
no sense partisan in its sympathies, was unequivocal 
in the declaration of its fidelity to the cause of the 
Union. Those fearful days ! I recall them almost 
with terror. Your sons went forth in defence of 
their country never to return to their homes ; the 
bodies of some of the patriot dead were laid upon 
biers before this altar, and your minister himself, 
many a time a mourner, tried to encourage the living 
and comfort those especially afflicted." 


He never faltered in outspoken words for the 
Union cause, and while a few of those identi- 
His Loyal ^ ec ^ Wlta hi s church were disaffected 
Efforts. by his patriotic zeal, he was in full 
sympathy with the great mass of his people, 


who were untiring in sustaining the Sanitary 
Commission, and in helping in all ways to aid 
the Government in suppressing the Rebellion. 
On one occasion he went to Richmond as an 
agent of the Sanitary Commission, and while 
there discovered a famous letter used by the 
Government in the Lincoln assassination trial. 


In 1865 an organization was formed in what 

was then the Northwestern States, that was of 

n h o rea ^ utility in promoting the interests 

western Con- of the Universalist Church, — The 


Northwestern Conference. At that 
time the General Convention was not, as 
subsequently it became, a working body ; and 
the Conference was a sort of portable mass- 
meeting, a peripatetic reservoir of enthusiasm, 
composed of all who would work in it, — with 
no ecclesiastical functions, no delegates, almost 
no organization, called at any time and place 
when and where the exigencies of the cause 
demanded. It held meetings to raise money 
for general work, to liquidate church debts, 
to effect college endowments, to settle minis- 
ters or secure their stay, and to revive and 
quicken religious zeal. During the few years 


of its existence it was the most efficient agency 
ever employed in promoting the interests of our 
cause in what were then called the North- 
western States, now the central stars in the 
great Federal constellation. Dr. Rycler was 
amonsj the most active of those who made the 
conference a power for good, working with 
such coadjutors as Revs. J. P. Weston, D. D., 
J. H. Tuttle. R. H. Pullman, J. W. Hanson, 
J. S. Dennis, D. P. Livermore, Augusta J. 
Chapin, J. S. Cantwell, J. S. Dennis, H. F. 
Miller, Mrs. M. A. Livermore, and many others. 
The days of that epoch are yet recalled with 
pleasure by those who were active in it, as 
among the most memorable in the annals of 
our church, for the amount and character of 
the work accomplished. Among the visible 
results of this work is the $100,000 endowment 
of Lombard University, raised in 1867, largely 
through the efforts of Dr. Ryder. 


Of Dr. Ryder's war record, and other labors a 
competent witness, the Rev. Dr .Tuttle, writes : 

" Mr. Ryder had been in Chicago but a few months 
when the Rebellion broke out ; and this set all his 
energies on fire of course. This created a new and 


popular platform for his eloquence, and made new- 
draughts on his powers. He took up the cause of the 
t> . 7). North, defending it and helping it in all 
Tuttle's liec- possible ways. There was no more patri- 
otic pulpit in Chicago than his ; no one 
worked harder than he in maintaining the rights of 
the Union. Our soldiers had no better friend and 
sympathizer than he. His appeals, his example and 
labors did a mighty work for freedom throughout 
that long and awful struggle. 

' ; The war absorbed the time and strength of the people 
to a fearful extent, and yet our denominational interests 
in the West received much attention during these years. 
It seems to me, as I look back to that period, that our 
church people never came together oftener and in 
larger numbers, never worked more enthusiastically, 
and never gave more freely for the cause. Religious 
meetings and war meetings were held side by side, and 
sometimes in common. Work in one direction stimu- 
lated work in the other. An organization called the 
Northwestern Conference of Universalists was ef- 
fected. It included in its boundaries five or six of the 
Northwestern States, in all of which frequent public 
assemblies were held in its behalf, and addressed by 
various ministers. Through these and other large 
gatherings, Dr. Ryder's popular sermons reached and 
benefited multitudes of Universalists. There was 
hardly an important town in the Northwest in which 
he did not speak and leave the profound spell of his 
presence and words. His influence went everywhere ; 
his coming was hailed with delight everywhere ; 


his name grew into a tower of strength every- 

" If Dr. Ryder was the acknowledged leader in these 
meetings, he had with him always an able corps of 
assistants,— the Rev. D. P. and Mrs. Mary A. Liver- 
more, the Revs. J. S. Dennis, J. W. Hanson, 0. A. 
Skinner — yes, and how many excellent laymen I re- 
call in that circle, such as E. G. Hall, A. G. Throop. J. 
H. Swan, B. F. Walker, etc. Those were days to be 

The work of St. Paul's Church and its pastor 
during those historic days is a part of the history 
of the times. It cannot here be more than indi- 
cated, but it should be said that the eloquent 
pastor of St. Paul's was one of the most com* 
mandins; of the figures that moved in Chicago 
during the days of the great struggle. And in 
his manifold efforts he had no more efficient co- 
adjutor than the devoted pastor of the Church of 
the Redeemer, the Rev. J. H. Tuttle. 

Chaplain Collins says : — 

" The war separated us sometimes in person, but not 
in spirit. While in the volunteer army I received 
many tokens of his regard in the shape of sanitary 
goods for the sick and wounded." 



Among the positions of public usefulness Mr. 
Ryder held was a membership of the Chicago 
Service on Board of Education from 1863 to 1866. 
Sinfof Here ^ S familiarity with the common 
Education. sc h ols of New England, and notably 
his Roxbury experience, enabled him to be very 
efficient. At the beginning of his service he at 
once took a leading position. A member of the 
Board, distinguished for his immense stature and 
dominant manners, and possessing very large in- 
fluence in public affairs, found a favorite project 
of his opposed by the new member. He at- 
tempted to brush aside the suggestions as of 
no importance. But the new member not only 
showed that his position was sound, but he held 
it with such force that the dictatorial member 
was outvoted, and Dr. Ryder became at once an 
acknowledged power on the Board. Never as- 
serting himself pertinaciously, or on any trivial 
matter, he entered thoroughly only into subjects 
of real consequence, and soon occupied a high 
place in educational matters, — and that at a time 
when the excellent schools of Chicago were in 
their formative period. Here, as elsewhere, he 
possessed the faculty of instinctively hitting the 
average common-sense view in matters of differ- 


ence of opinion, and usually carried conviction 
of the soundness of his positions. Perhaps as 
much as any other characteristic, he was endowed 
with common-sense, which some one has well de- 
nominated " uncommon sense." In fact, as truly 
as James Russell Lowell declared of Abraham 
Lincoln it may be said of Dr. Ryder, he was 
" incarnated common-sense." 

All these, and other demands, rapidly devel- 
oped the innate energies of the man, and pushed 
them to their utmost, so that his removal from 
New England to Chicago, like Thomas Starr 
King's from Boston to California, was not only 
a blessing to multitudes in his broader field of 
toil, but was productive of the greatest advantage 
to himself. 


Dr. Ryder continued his labors with uninter- 
mitting zeal and industry till 1868, when he felt 
Second Euro- compelled to seek a respite, and made 
pean voyage. a seconc i European journey, from May, 
1868, to May, 1869. 

During his European travels he wrote very 
little either for the press or to individuals. Brief 
personal letters, and an occasional epistle to the 
parish constituted the sum of his correspondence. 


In July, 1868, he wrote to St. Paul's Church a 
brief letter to gratify the curiosity of his people 
as to his health and whereabouts, in the course 
of which he shows how he bore in mind, wherever 
he was, the interests of the church to which he 
had consecrated his life. 

" Somehow I linger with special interest around St. 
Paul's Cathedral, though in historic interest it is far 
inferior to Westminster Abbey. But the name of the 
former strikes a sympathetic chord. And as I look 
upon the names written upon monuments in St. Paul's 
here who have made themselves illustrious, I can but 
think of those who have the means and the ability to 
render themselves alike the benefactors of mankind 
in our St. Paul's, in the New World. And I can but 
pray that they, as many have done here, will put at 
least a portion of their worldly substance to such use 
as will glorify God in blessing mankind when they 
shall have ceased from their labors." 

And his magnificent consecration of his prop- 
erty to the church, twenty years after this, 
shows that his language was not mere sentiment, 
but the sincere utterance of his heart. 


Chaplain Collins, late chaplain of the United 
States Army, wrote in 1891 : — 


" After the war our visits recommenced. While 
stationed in what was then regarded as the remote por- 
„, , . „ , tion, he came to see me several times, once 

Chaplain Col- ' 

lins, and Army with his entire family. Those visits are 

Experiences. ^ ^ ^ br [ ght spots [ n my Hf e . He loved 

to wander over the plains, sometimes with an escort 
of soldiers to protect him from the Indians ; at other 
times he went alone. He was not, in common lan- 
guage, fond of the chase, but the wild, treeless scen- 
ery had for him a wonderful charm. He often preached 
for me in the Post chapel, and never failed to interest 
both officers and soldiers. In the summer the Army 
Posts are often crowded with company, among them 
many clergymen. I always asked them to preach for 
me, and they seldom declined. At one time my desk 
was thus supplied six Sundays in succession. Dr. 
Ryder was the sixth and last of my assistants. The 
whole garrison united in the opinion he was the greatest 
preacher of them all. Not long before his departure 
he addressed me a letter from which I make the fol- 
lowing extract : — 


" ' You and I are getting along toward the end. I have 
reason to believe that you contemplate the termination of the 

earthly part of your existence with Christian for- 
Chaplain titude. For myself, T can truthfully say that life 

is dear to me, and I have no desire to terminate 
this part yet. But as to the future state I am utterly without 
anxiety. My faith in the immortality of the human soul takes 
the form of restful confidence. I believe in the divine mission 


of the Lord, and accept with the fullest confidence his recorded 
words of love and truth. 3Iy only real anxiety is that I may 
fulfil my obligations to God and man, and thus be a faithful 
disciple of Him who is the way, the truth, and the life.' " 


Dr. Ryder had early taken an active part in 
the charitable, benevolent, and humanitarian 
Charitable movements of the city. He was one of 
Work. t ] ie f oun( j ers anc j constant supporters of 

the Hospital for Women and Children, the Aid 
and Relief Society, the Citizens' League, and 
was one of the trustees of the Woman's Medical 
College, and the Old People's Home. He was 
elected president of the last-named institution 
only a few weeks before his death. He was for 
years perhaps the most welcome visitor at the 
Old People's Home. His sermons, remarks, and 
friendly manner to the inmates were highly 
prized ; and it was a pleasing sight at his 
frequent visits to see them throng about him 
as if he were, as indeed he was, one who 
sympathized with them with all his heart. 

His last will and testament showed that some- 
thing deeper than a superficial and transient feel- 
ing possessed him toward the Public Library, the 
Hospital for Women and Children, and the Old 
People's Home. His generous hand continues to 


dispense aid to the institutions he encouraged 
during his lifetime. 

On his return from Europe Dr. Ryder organized 
one of the beneficent agencies of St. Paul's parish, 
— the Industrial School. He had observed that 
the colored children were so ill-treated by the 
white children in the Industrial Schools, most of 
whom were Irish, that they did not long attend, 
and he set about establishing an agency that 
should temper the wind to the shorn lambs. He 
found helping hands among the women of the 
church, and from that time on this company of 
the pariahs of prejudice has enjoyed a prosperous 
existence. The colored pastors and people of the 
vicinity are in full sympathy with this agency to 
bless the poor. The Rev. Sumner Ellis, D. D., 
after looking on the scene, wrote : "Blessed be 
the Christianity that so stoops and broods over 
the poor and the ignorant and the sad and the 
weary and the sinful. This is the fairest jewel 
in its royal crown." 


His occasional sermon preached in Galesburg, 
Illinois, before the General Convention, Septem- 
ber 18, 1866, was one of marked ability, and 
was pronounced with such unction and fervor 


that it produced a profound impression. The 
text was Acts ix. 6 : " Lord what wilt thou 
Preaches the nave me to do • " Starting with the 
SermonTu declaration that "the spirit of con- 
1866. secration to Christ " and a " desire to 

aid in building up on earth the kingdom of 
God " characterize all who are really Christians, 
he made a practical application of the thought 
to our own church. He said : — 

" Since the termination of the War of the Rebel- 
lion there has been in many directions an in- 
creased desire on the part of numerous persons to 
become better acquainted with the doctrines of the 
gospel. These inquirers feel that those forms 
of faith which have so widely prevailed among us 
cannot be true. They cannot be true, for no man, 
even were his heart a stone, could stand in the 
national cemetery at Gettysburg, and with the 
graves of the brave men who died to defend our 
altars and our homes before him as an audience — 
no man, I say, in such a presence, or in any pres- 
ence which vitalizes our humanity, can apply that 
interpretation of God's word — alas, even now too 
prevalent — which so mocks and insults God's holy 
and gracious spirit. Loving and God-fearing men 
professing these doctrines have wrought good in 
the world, for which we honor them; but their 
theory of faith does not suit the intelligent thought 
of these later times, and we therefore choose what 


to us is ' the more excellent way ; ' and we trust 
this work of theological reconstruction will go 
forward until all souls are liberated from the 
bondage of error, and made lit to bear forth into 
the world the ark of God's fatherly love and re- 
deeming grace." 

He then answered, on behalf of his own de- 
nomination, the question asked by the text, 
and enforced the proposition that 

" the pressing need of this Universalist denomina- 
tion to-day is a definite statement of its purposes 
and aims as a Christian sect, a clear comprehension 
of those purposes and aims by the mass of the be- 
lievers, and the building up of institutions which 
shall represent and embody them." 

He defined the purpose of his denomination 
to be united effort to increase the efficiency of 
the individual in Christian work without in any 
way restricting his rights. He thought that 
the Universalists unwilling to work together 
would be unwilling to work at all. Such as- 
sociated effort as our church purposes does not 
hinder but protects the liberties of the in- 
dividual. Repudiating the popular misappre- 
hensions of Universalism, he said : — 

" We do indeed believe in the final recovery of all 
souls, and we rejoice in the fact ; but we believe 


in this doctrine as the promised result of the 
mediatorial reign of Christ. This result rests 
upon certain specified conditions, and it is because 
we are persuaded that these conditions will be 
complied with that we rejoice in the hope of a 
world's salvation. Universal salvation implies, there- 
fore, universal obedience." 

Among the points presented he considered 
missionary work, and suggested the policy, 
since so successful, of State superintendents. 
He closed as follows : — 

" My one chief desire has been, in all I have said, 
to arrest the thought of the denomination, and fix 
it upon the necessity of more direct and specific 
work. There is nothing obscure in our Profession 
of Faith, and there should not be anything doubtful 
in our position, either in reference to our attitude 
as a sect, our theological platform, our aims as a 
branch of the Christian Church, or in any other 
particular. Give the people stints, cordially sym- 
pathize with all that is done by other denominations 
for the Christianization of mankind; and as we go 
forward into the future, with its varied experiences, 
let us all unitedly inquire, with more earnestness 
and prayerfulness than ever before, 'Lord what 
will thou have me to do ? ' Amen." 



In March, 1867, a fine discourse was preached 
by Dr. Ryder, and printed, on " The Cata- 
combs." It describes them at length, 
the Cata- and details the character of the monu- 
ments, inscriptions, and paintings rep- 
resenting the thought and feelings of the early 
Christians, and deduces two lessons: (1) the 
simplicity and strength of their faith ; and (2 ) 
the contrast between Christian and Pagan mor- 
ality and views of life and death. 


An instance of the wide extent of his influence 
and name, after ten years in Chicago, may here 
be given. A party of Western people 
the Popular was on its way to Gloucester, Mass., 
to attend the Universalist Centennial 
in 1870. It consisted of Truman H. Jucld and 
George Burnham and their wives, of Milwaukee, 
Wis., and H. H. Massey and wife, of Blue 
Island, 111. When they reached Island Pond, 
Vt., the customs official began to inspect their 
baggage, and Mr. Judd jocosely remarked, — 

" You need not examine those trunks, for we 
are all Universalists, on our way to the Glouces- 
ter Centennial." 


" Is that so ? V said the official. « Where are 
you from?" 

"From Chicago, and vicinity," was the an- 

"From Chicago?" said he. "Do you know 

Dr. Ryder?" 

: ' Yes, indeed, we do, — know him well." 

" God bless Dr. Ryder ! " said the inspector. 

And turning to a subordinate he said : « Chalk 

those trunks ; they are all right." 


July 9, 1871, he preached on the "New 
Departure," or the " Signs of the Times." He 
was reported in the "Chicago Times." 

He specified three respects in which the 
Christian world has made great progress : " (1 ) 

Sermon on that the moral government of God 
the signs of is parental; (2) that the emphasis of 

til 6 J. 1IT16S. i -I /-^-i • • 

all Christian teaching should be placed 
upon right living and not upon right dying ; and 
(3) that the characters we form here in time are 
a part of our spiritual identity, and as such go 
with us into the immortal world." 


October 8, 9, and 10, 1871, occurred the great 
Chicago fire, a scene of horror and destruction 


rarely if ever equalled in human annals. Be- 
ginning in the West Division, it swept before 
The Great a fu rious gale, moving at the rate of 
Chicago Fire. f rom sixty to ninety miles an hour. 
Leaping across the river it went in a north- 
easterly direction, till it reached the lake, and 
then moving north swept all before it to the 
lakeside, destroying several blocks in the West 
Division, all the business and much of the resi- 
dence portion in the South Division, and the 
entire North Division. The total area burned 
over was 2,100 acres, or three and a half square 
miles, and consuming 17,450 buildings ; 98,500 
persons were rendered homeless, and about 500 
lives were lost. The total loss on buildings 
was $50,000,000, and on personal property 
$140,000,000, on which there was $40,000,000 
insurance. Including destruction of buildings, 
etc., competent statisticians estimate the entire 
cost of this unexampled visitation to have been 
fully $200,000,000. Such a scene of vastation 
and horror would not have been realized, ac- 
cording to General Sheridan who was an eye- 
witness, had all the battles he saw in the War of 
the Rebellion been rolled into one. 

The fire crossed Wabash Avenue at Harrison 
Street, one block south of Van Buren Street, and 
of course devoured the church and parsonage. 






They were consumed on the morning of October 
9. The only article saved from the church was 
a piano, and from the parsonage the wardrobe, 
a part of the library, and some of the works of 
art gathered by the pastor during his foreign 
travels. It was a sight never to be forgotten, to 
see all that was valuable brought from the house, 
and in the chaos of confusion scattered wherever 
any one chose to convey it. One rare painting 
that Dr. Ryder brought from Europe was dis- 
covered after weeks of absence in a wretched 
hovel, and his valuable collection of coins that 
some stranger volunteered to care for was never 
found. The scene of desolation that for months 
occupied the site of the larger part of the great 
city is historical. No description can convey 
more than a hint of the awful picture that was 
seen during the three days and nights of the 
conflagration, or that remained for months, still 
smoking in places like a dying volcano. For 
several years the ruined church was the most 
picturesque object in the desolated city. 


Immediately after the fire Dr. Ryder went 
East to solicit contributions from our prosperous 
parishes. He was everywhere welcomed and 


encouraged. The universal sympathy with the 
sufferers by the great calamity, joined with 
His Journey his powerful presentations of their 
East ' needs, enabled him to return after a 

brief absence with a contribution of $38,000, 
with which to build the church ; and that sum 
went far to recoup the $75,000 lost in its de- 
struction. Of this sum $3,000 were given to 
Murray Chapel, a movement to establish a 
church on Indiana Avenue and Twenty-ninth 
Street, the members of that society having 
been injured by the fire, and $1,000 to Oak 
Park, whose membership had suffered in their 
business interests by the great calamity. The 
remainder was expended toward building the 
house subsequently erected on Michigan Avenue. 


In his farewell sermon Dr. Ryder said : — 

" How distinctly I remember the Sabbath morn- 
ing following, when we stood amid the ruins of our 
Dr Ryder's religious home and pledged to each other 
Account. renewed fidelity to the Master's work. 
Everything about us had a disheartening look. The 
day was very chilly. Smoke and gas from burning 
coal near us was still in the air. Some of our mem- 
bers from exposure and exhaustion were unable to be 


there, and some, too, who but the week before were 
regarded as pecuniarily strong, now felt themselves 
reduced to poverty." 


There are few more striking figures in our de- 
nominational history than that of Dr. Ryder as he 
His Great s ^ zes tne situation, gauges the sentiment 
Success. £ k} s brethren in the Eastern churches, 
and with instant alacrity starts from the smoul- 
dering embers, ashes, and blackened ruins of the 
vastated city, to plead for help for those whose 
possessions had gone up in flame and smoke. 
No other city ever had so many sympathizing 
hearts in so many different localities. Chicago 
had drawn men and women into its seething 
vortex from almost every portion of the world. 
Then as now there were probably lines radiat- 
ing from Chicago into more countries, cities, 
and homes, than from any other city that ever 
existed, and the awful calamity that befell it 
made those lines throb with electric feeling;, so 
that hearts in all parts of the civilized world 
beat in its behalf. It is doubtful if the world 
ever saw such floods of human sympathy pour 
into any realm as ran like rivers to the sea 
toward the ruined city by the lake. And when 


the pastor of St. Paul's took in the situation, 
and with full faith in his generous brethren in 
the Eastern States, shook the ashes from his feet 
and started to present to them the needs of his 
church, he occupied a unique position. He knew 
his appeal to be valid and urgent ; he knew the 
hearts on whose sympathies he called ; and never 
were his potent voice and grand personality 
pressed into a nobler service, never were they 
more commanding. Munificent sums rolled into 
the church's exchequer, and in a few weeks he 
returned with $38,000 to prove his powers of 
suasion and the generosity of those on whom he 
called. As he remembered that " Zion was a 
wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation, the holy and 
beautiful house where our fathers praised God 
was burned up with fire, and all our pleasant 
things were laid waste," his voice acquired new 
pathos and power ; his commanding figure as- 
sumed its most impressive proportions ; his pow- 
erful personality was at its maximum, and he 
moved all hearts with divine sympathy. The 
eyes of our church were fastened upon him 
as he came and as he went, and it may truth- 
fully be said that he performed a task that 
no other ever wrought, with a success that 
could scarcely have been excelled if equalled by 
any other. 



In the farewell discourse he says, — 

" The corner stone of this edifice was laid in the 
spring of 1873 (April 29) ; the first service within 
Dr R der'a t ^ e building was held in the lecture-room 
Description in the autumn of the following: year. The 

of the Frog- ° J 

ressofthe lecture-room was used as our place ot wor- 
Church. s hip until May, 1875, when we moved into 
the auditorium, but the building was not consecrated 
by the services of dedication until Easter Sunday, 
April 21, 1878, by which time the floating debts of 
the society had all been paid, and the other claims 
connected with rebuilding had all been satisfactorily 
secured. But during all this time, and for several 
years after, the financial burden was very heavy. 
In addition to the current charges connected with 
the regular expenses of the church, as high as 89,000 
were annually paid for interest. We tried to be 
brave and strong, but it did seem at times like 
pouring water in a sieve, thus to be paying money 
away for interest with but little prospect of better- 
ing our condition. But at last the anxious days 
were ended, and thanks to the self-sacrificing gen- 
erosity of many, and to the distinguished generosity 
of one [Edson Keith], St. Paul's Church at the last 
parish meeting was declared to be entirely out of 
debt, and this fine property and this grand building 
are now fully and wholly secured to the uses and 
purposes of the Universalist Church. 


" The record books of both the parish and the church 
were destroyed in the great fire, but the leading facts 
in the history of each organization have been collected 
as far as possible, and they are now, it is hoped, 
permanently preserved. The accounts of the Treas- 
urer are complete since Jan. 1, 1871, and the footings 
which he gives me show that 8184,366.68 have passed 
through his books since that date, — that is, in eleven 
years. From what I know of the income of the 
society during the eleven years preceding, and the 
subscriptions that were made for various purposes 
during that period, I estimate that this parish has 
raised and expended during the past twenty -two years 
not far from §640,000. 

" I estimate that the Ladies' Aid Society of this 
church has raised on the average $2,000 yearly, — in 
all, §44,000. 

" These sums will impress you as large. They are 
so. But twenty-two years is a long period in a new 
city like this, and to what better use could money 
be put than that to which this has been applied? 
You have had the satisfaction not only of maintaining 
for yourselves a constant ministry, but of contributing 
through this instrumentality to the moral and social 
health of this city and of this portion of our country. 
But this is not all, for the money is not simply ex- 
pended and the benefits of it incarnated in human 
lives, institutions, and general affairs, but you have 
this broad vantage-ground from which to work in the 
future ; the foundation is here, and I hope time will 
prove that it is laid in wisdom as well as in love. . . . 


" During my pastorate here I have baptized 378 
children and adults. 

" On Dec. 13, 1871, a business meeting was held, 
and thereafter public religious services were held 
in the Jewish Synagogue, corner of Peck Court and 
Wabash Avenue, until the new church was ready for 

"In 1S74 — the records having been lost — the 
society was reorganized and reincorporated." 


Looking backward and forward at this point, 
History of a brief history of the various church 
Church Edi- edifices and matters appertaining may 
fices, etc. \re T Q be given. 

The first Universalist sermon preached in 
Chicago was by the Rev. William Queal, in 
1836. The service was held in Garrett's auc- 
tion-room, on Dearborn, near South Water 
Street. In the winter of 1841-42 the Rev. 
W. W. Dean preached regularly. The First 
Universalist Society was organized Dec. 18, 
1842, with twenty-two members ; the Sunday- 
school was formed in June, 1843, and the 
church, March 3, 1850, reorganized May, 1860. 
The Rev. W. E. Manley was the first settled 
pastor. He removed to Chicago in March,' 1843, 
and remained three years at a salary of 



Mr. Manley came from Nunda, N. Y., driving 
all the way, six hundred miles, in a democrat 
wao-on drawn by a pair of horses. His wife 
and four children accompanied him. It was the 
coldest winter ever known to many people. 
There was sleighing three months in Chicago. 
From Cleveland it was so cold that the Manleys 
were compelled to stop every two or three 
miles to warm. The locomotive had not then 
discovered this city, which was a little lakeside 
settlement unconscious of its destiny. Toward 
the close of his last dny's journey Mr. Manley 
saw no signs of a city, and not desiring to drive 
after dark, and fearing that he should not find 
shelter for the night, he enquired at a house on 
the prairie the distance to Chicago. " About 
two miles," was the answer. The house at 
which he enquired was known as the Clark 
House, and twenty-eight years after the title of 
a portion of the estate came into the possession 
of St. Paul's Church, and the temple situated 
on Michigan Avenue stood on the site. At this 
writing — 1891 — the spot that was two miles 
outside of Chicago is several miles inside the 
great city's limits. 



The first Universalist church-edifice in Chi- 
cago was built in 1843-44, of wood, and was 
First church located on Washington Street, east of 
m Chicago. Clark, just east of the Methodist 
Church block, on land donated by the Canal 
Commissioners. It was dedicated Oct. 23, 1844. 

The wonderful increase in the value of land 
in Chicago may be gauged by a fact or two in 
connection with the price of the lot on which 
the Washington Street church stood. It was 
eighty by one hundred and eighty-two feet. 
The church sold it in 1856 for $38,000, and .in 
March, 1891, sixty feet of it brought $525,000, 
making the original lot realize in the market 
$656,000, or $48.00 a square foot. 

The Rev. W. E. Manley was ordained in Chi- 
cago, Sept. 14, 1843, after he had preached for 
ten years. Rev. William S. Balch preached the 


Mr. Manley was succeeded in the early part 
of 1846 by the Rev. Samuel P. Skinner, under 
whose administration a new church was begun, 
on the corner of Van Buren Street and Wa- 
bash Avenue. It was completed in 1856, and 


cost, including the lot, $75,000. This was one 
of the finest churches ever erected in the 
city, and the best in the denomi- 
Buren Street nation then, perfect Gothic through- 
out, without a flaw " from turret to 
foundation stone." The exterior was of stone, 
the interior of oak. the auditorium was fifty 
feet high, with windows of stained glass, and 
it would seat about one thousand persons. 

This church was dedicated May 14, 1857. 
The Rev. L. B. Mason read the Scriptures, the 
Rev. R. R. Shippen (Unitarian), offered the 
Introductory Prayer, the Rev. E. H. Chapin 
preached the Sermon, the Rev. W. W. King- 
read the Dedicatory Sentences and offered the 
Dedicatory Prayer. 

Mr. Skinner was succeeded by the Rev. L. B. 
Mason, and he by the Rev. W. W. King, who 
retired from the pastorate in the summer of 


The third house of worship was an immense 

structure of stone on Michigan Avenue, between 

Sixteenth and Eighteenth streets. 

The Michi- , *. m rs^n mi 

gan Avenue The lot cost $52,000. The corner 

stone was laid April 29, 1873; the 

lecture room was used from the autumn of 1874 


i-^: i^«l 

Will *;L l3 W;»^3life 




till May, 1875, when the auditorium was occu- 
pied, though the edifice was not dedicated till 
April 21, 1878. In October, 1887, the congre- 
gation removed to the chapel of its fourth 
house of worship, on Prairie Avenue and Thir- 
tieth Street. During fifty years the parish has 
expended more than $300,000 in church edifices. 


The chapel of the new church home is one of 
the most beautiful of rooms. It cost $11,000, 
New Chapel ancl was tne generous gift of Harlow N. 
and Church. Higinbotham and Charles L. Hutchin- 
son. It was dedicated Oct. 6, 1887. 

On Feb. 26, 1888, the new church was occu- 
pied for the first time. The Rev. J. S. Cantwell, 
D.D., read the Scripture Lesson, the Rev. J. C. 
Adams, D. D., preached the Sermon, and the 
Rev. W. H. Ryder, D.D., offered the Prayer. 
These were the last public words of the sainted 
dead, and it was a singular and fortunate im- 
pulse that moved Dr. Cantwell to direct the 
reporter to take down the words of the prayer 



" Let us pray. Our Father who art in Heaven, as 
we open the portals of this building for the public 
., „ , , worship of God, we desire to take thy name 

Dr. Ryders r ' _ J 

Last Public on our lips, and worship thee with rever- 
ence and love. Thou art our God. We 
recognize thy sovereignty, and we have seen the 
abundance of thy grace. This is an hour of deep sig- 
nificance to us. It is also one of great importance. 
Here is to be our religious home. Here we shall 
come to worship our God, in the name of his beloved 
Son, our Redeemer. Therefore, Lord, let thy bene- 
diction rest upon us. We come with no new Gospel. 
We have no new plea to make. It is the same Gos- 
pel and the same Cross as of old. We come to rec- 
ognize the same ark of the covenant removed to this 
new place. This is our home, and the meeting-place 
of ourselves and our God. Therefore we ask thy 
benediction on this church, its pastor, its officers, all 
the membership, the church universal everywhere, 
and on all good men and women. Hear us, Lord, 
and grant our supplications. Help us in thy mercy 
to do thy work, as we think of the days that have 
been, and the days that are to come. The Lord be 
with us, whether in the flesh, or in the night of the 
spirit. Oh, the mystery of this life, how perplexing 
it is ! We thank thee for the immortal life that 
makes time and eternity one. May we work on, 
hoping and trusting that the things that are dark 


may be light by-and-by. We are as a ship upon the 
sea, battling with the mighty waves, but we can see 
the harbor in the distance, where we shall find peace 
and safety. So is it with us ; and we ask for thy 
help and guidance in so conducting our lives that we 
may reach thy haven of eternal rest at last. These 
things we ask in the name of our Lord and .Redeemer. 

Who could have imagined, while listening to 
these devout words, that he who was speak- 
ing was already touched by the fatal influence 
that would before the next Sunday lay him on 
his death-bed, and that in ten brief days that 
voice would be silent in death ? 


The Prairie Avenue church was dedicated 

the following Sunday, March 6, 1888, the Rev. 

Drs. Adams, Barrows (Presbyterian), 

Dedication . v J n 

of present Swing (Independent), and Utter (Uni- 

Chureh . . . . 

tanan), conducting the exercises. The 
serious illness of Dr. Ryder cast a shadow over 
the services, though no one present dreamed 
that the honored and beloved man was on 
his death-bed. 



The Rev. Sumner Ellis, D. D., occupied the pul- 
pit during the autumn of 1882, beginning in Sep- 
otherPas- tember. He became pastor pro tempore 
tors. - m J anll ary, 1883, and remained until 

March, 1884, when the Rev. J. C. Adams was 
invited, who was followed in October, 1890, by 
the Rev. A. J. Canfield, D. D. 


There was very little of the controversialist in 
Dr. Ryder's make-up. He preferred to rely on 
Not Contro- the leavening power of truth rather 
yersiai except t ] mn on tne battle-axe of polemics. His 

from rseces- L 

slt y- disposition was eminently irenic. He 

was so conciliatory in his methods, and so pacific 
in his demeanor towards opponents, that he not 
only disarmed opposition and attracted those of 
other modes of faith, but caused some to say, 
" This man is no Universalist ; " or, " If all Uni- 
versalists were like him, they would be unobjec- 
tionable." But those who regarded him as any- 
thing else than an uncompromising apostle of 
the doctrines for which his church stands mis- 
took him entirely. No man ever had 


" a finer sense of right, 
And Truth's directness, meeting each occasion 
Straight as a line of light." 

Under the velvet glove were sinews of steel, and 
every test demonstrated that the most unflinch- 
ing adhesion to the truth as he understood it 
characterized him. The motto of his life seemed 
to be, — 

" Those love truth best who to themselves are true, 
And what they dare to dream of dare to do." 

The Rev. Dr. Edwards (Methodist) remarked 
in his journal, " The Northwestern Christian 
Advocate," that he was " almost orthodox." 
Some "liberal" ministers have thought him 
altogether " too orthodox." But Christian Uni- 
versalists would generally agree that he was 
exactly orthodox. 

At the time he began his Chicago ministry 
Universalism was the Ishmael of the sects, — its 
hand was against every other church, because 
every other hand was against it. The arrival of 
one of its advocates in any new field was the 
signal for a general uprising of all the " ortho- 
dox" forces; every gun was unlimbered and 
trained on our doctrines and their advocates. It 
is not strange that men conscious of obeying 
their highest convictions of duty, thus assailed, 


struck back, and learned to " fight the devil with 
fire," and that many of the Universalist minis- 
ters of those days were gladiators in the theologi- 
cal arena. Perhaps they sometimes too much 
emphasized the first word in the exhortation of 
the Apostle, " Fight the good fight." 

Dr. Ryder had an innate distaste for conten- 
tion, and both from disposition and from con- 
viction shrank from controversy. He loved to 
extend the open palm to all, but never forgot that 
the Maker of the hand had so constructed it that 
it naturally and easily rolls up into a fist when 
necessary for defence. Accordingly, though he 
most. of all loved to treat of practical themes, 
and dealt with the great affirmations of the 
Gospel habitually, his voice was powerful in 
defending his faith and exposing error when 
the occasion called. 

All along through the years the city press con- 
tained announcements of his intention to set forth 
the inadequacies of the sacrificial theology, and 
to meet the demands of a genuine Christianity ; 
and many columns are filled with reports of 
his discourses defending the doctrines of his 

He thought that sometimes too much emphasis 
had been laid on the outcome rather than on the 
means of accomplishing it. With him, and he 


often dwelt upon it, universal salvation was the 
synonyme of universal holiness. The latter is the 
essential means of accomplishing the former, and 
he thought it better to dwell on man's part, the 
means, rather than on God's purpose and plan. 

In addition to this, more than many of his 
brethren, he believed in post-mortem discipline, 
and thought it salutary to make that doctrine a 
motive to repentance and obedience. He held 
to the positive discipline of the soul in the future 
state of existence, — that there will be regret 
and remorse for unrepented sin, which will 
continue until the soul of its own free will 
and accord shall slough evil dispositions, and 
turn to God. 

This view conciliated many in the Partialist 
churches, and at the same time it gave him a 
great advantage over the pulpits that taught the 
doctrine of interminable torment. 


A striking illustration of this may be given. 

A condemned murderer had repented on the 

scaffold, and while expressing entire 

Hanging as . 

a Means of confidence that he should swing from 

the gibbet to glory, he was very much 

exercised over the reflection that his victim — 


whom he slaughtered with all his imperfections 
on his head, before he had time to repent, as the 
murderer had been able to do — would forever 
welter in torment, while he would celebrate his 
own escape with heavenly hallelujahs. As this 
" conversion " was wrought under the influence 
of preachers of a limited faith, it was made the 
occasion of exultation over Universalism, as 
unequal to the task of converting such wicked 
sinners. A great sensation was produced by a 
sermon preached in St. Paul's Church by Dr. 
Ryder, March 30, 1873, on " Hanging as a 
Means of Grace," which showed that while God, 
according- to the " orthodox " faith must either 
punish the murderer to all eternity, or on repent- 
ance before death allow him to escape all pun- 
ishment, his unrepentant victim must necessarily 
be consigned to ceaseless torment, Universalism 
teaches that God does not release the murderer 
from his guilt, or permit him to escape the 
punishment he deserves, but that both murderer 
and victim will pass through processes of disci- 
pline, subsequent to death, that will meet all the 
demands of justice, and at the same time enable 
" the mercy of God to endure forever," in their 
ultimate conversion. The " Chicago Times," 
voiced the feelings of those not wedded to the 
old theories in an article on the execution of the 


Christian (?) murderer irreverently captioned 
" Jerked to Jesus ! " He began by expressing 
his satisfaction that murderers are not shut 
out of human sympathy, and that the min- 
istrations of religion follow them even to the 
gallows. But he condemned the injudicious 
application of religion to the criminal, and 
severely denounced as a " sham," if not im- 
moral, the practice of proclaiming that a mur- 
derer, after a brief repentance goes from the 
gallows to glory. He related an instance in 
which — 

" a good man while in the performance of his ordi- 
nary business, was shot and instantly killed. The 
murdered man attended the Universalist Church, 
and was a correct and exemplary person of good 
standing in the community. My friend, after the 
murderer had been tried and condemned, called 
upon him in his cell. 

" He asked him how he felt with regard to the fate 
before him, and he said, ' I 'in all right. I have made 
my peace with God. I am all ready to die. I expect 
to be in heaven in forty-eight hours.' ' Well,' said the 
clergyman, ' what do you think is the condition of the 
man you killed ? ' Said he, ' That bothers me a good 
deal. I have been thinking about that since I was 
converted, — how it will seem for me, when I get to 
heaven, to look down upon him in hell.' ' What 
makes you think he is in hell ? ' ' Why, because I 


shot him so quickly he hadn't a chance to repent. 
Just as quick as the pistol vent off he fell, and 
could n't think about it.' " 

Dr. Ryder said that such an offsetting of emo- 
tional piety against solid character was mischiev- 
ous. It teaches the criminal to say : — 

" ' If I murder another I shall probably be hung. So 
far as human law is concerned I shall have to suffer 
the penalty, but so far as the Divine Law is concerned 
I know how to get rid of that. I can manage that 
part. I can live forty and nine years in sin, and wipe 
away the consequences, but I cannot do anything 
against man's law without in all probability being 
arrested. These detectives are so terribly searching 
in their enquiries that it is pretty hard to get rid of 
them, but, so far as God is concerned, I know how to 
elude His law, and shirk the penalty of it ! ' Now, I 
contend that everything of the kind is demoralizing. 
It is not giving a man his deserts. I maintain that 
the conviction ought to rest upon your heart and 
mine that if we go through the world in opposition 
to God he will hold us answerable for those things not 
only while we live, but after we pass out of this bodv 
as well ; and that the character ingrained into the 
human organization cannot be wiped out by any 
ejaculatory sentences." 

Further on he said : — 

" If the gallows can thus be made a means of grace ; 
if almost every one who goes out of the world by hang- 


ing goes straight to glory, and would hardly get there 
but by that process, it might be well for us to consider 
whether it would not be useful to employ hanging as 
a means of grace on very many other occasions. I do 
not know but it would be well to apply it to some of 
our aldermen, and members of the Board of Trade, 
and directors of Insurance Companies, and Congress- 
men. . . . Oh, brethren ! this is not the gospel. 

" If I were called to administer to a man who was to 
be hung to-morrow, I would not say to him, ' If you re- 
pent of your sins and are sorry, the consequences of 
all your guilt will be wiped away, and you stand abreast 
of the most valiant of the soldiers of the Cross of 
Christ.' I could not say that, because it is a mis- 
representation, and a great untruth. I would say to 
him, ' My brother, I am sorry for you ; you are in a 
bad condition ; you are scarred all over with sin. But 
God is your Father and Friend ; He sent His Son to 
die for sinners. Put yourself in the best frame of 
mind you can ; begin to retrace your steps ; walk to- 
ward Zion the few days that remain, and every step 
you take this side of the grave is so much ground re- 
won, and you are all the better prepared to go home ! ' 
This, I think, is Christian morality ; and as I would 
say it to the worst culprit, I would say it to myself 
and to you." 

The discourse powerfully enforced the doc- 
trine that character is salvation, and that it can- 
not be achieved by a spasm of repentance, but 
only by right living, and showed the Chicago 


public that the popular doctrine of going into 
"heaven" from the murderer's gallows is not 
only untrue, but immoral, and in strong contrast 
to the Universalist view, expressed by the Apostle, 
that what a man sows in conduct he reaps in 


In October, 1873, the General Convention, 

held that year in Washington, D.C., appointed 

a committee consisting of the Rev. A. 

the Evangeii- A. Miner, D.D., the Rev. E. H. Chapin, 

cal Alliance. ^^ ^ ^ ^ ^ R ^^ ^^ 

to represent our branch of the Church in the 
Evangelical Alliance. The proper steps to ask 
formally for representation were not taken till 
after the Alliance had adjourned ; but Dr. Ryder 
prepared a memorial, which is valuable as a 
presentation of his view. He said, in the course 
of his paper : — 

" We are aware that the denomination in whose 
behalf we speak holds to certain views in reference 
to salvation in Christ which are not approved by most 
of the sects represented in your body. But while 
we thus differ from many of you in our understanding 
of the teaching of the Bible, and as to our belief in the 
faith held by the Church in the first and second cen- 
turies of our era, we consider ourselves in full accord 


with you as to the authority of the Word of God in 
matters of faith and practice, and as to the Divinity 
and Sonship of Christ. With that form of unbelief 
which denies the inspiration of Scripture, and practi- 
cally rejects the Bible as having authority upon the 
reason and conscience of man, we are not in sympathy. 
With equal decision do we reject all attempts to reduce 
the Christ of the Gospels to the level of a mere man, 
thus robbing him of the crown of divinity which the 
Gospels place upon his brow, and thus also denying 
virtually that God has by His Son revealed himself to 
mankind. Our religious belief is that which we think 
the Bible teaches ; and the Lord we love, and in whom 
we trust both for time and eternity, is the Christ of 
history, and the authorized representative of the 
Father. So far as loyalty to Christ, and faith in the 
Bible as the sufficient rule of faith and practice are 
concerned, we believe the Universalist denomination is 
as united as any sect represented in the Alliance. . . . 
Believing, therefore, that the time has fully arrived 
when the representation we ask for should be recog- 
nized, that we may aid you as you may aid us, in 
holding up the cross of Christ before a needy and 
sinful world, in defending the Christian religion 
against the assaults of its enemies, in practically 
complying with the injunction of the Apostle, ' that 
there should be no schism in the body, but that the 
members should have the same care one for another,' 
and in rebuking that intolerant spirit in which the 
different members of the Protestant church have too 
often and too long indulged toward each other, thereby 


keeping alive the spirit of sect, to the injury of charac- 
ter, and the encouragement of infidelity, — believing 
all this, and desiring that peace and good-will may 
prevail through all the church of Christ, we have pre- 
pared this statement of the views and purposes of the 
denomination to which we belong, and respectfully 
submit it for your consideration," etc. 


During the progress of the famous trial of 
Professor David Swing for heresy Dr. Ryder 
The Swing Poached a kindly sermon, May 10, 
HeresyTriai. 1874. After rehearsing the evidences 
of the progress of the Presbyterian church away 
from Presbyterianism as set forth in its formulas, 
he concluded by saying : — 

" And now a few words on the general subject of 
Christian union. I am not what is technically called 
orthodox. There are several specifications in Prof. 
Swing's creed to which I cannot subscribe. He has 
his views, I have mine, but we are both believers in 
the one Lord, we are both trying to preach the gospel 
and to win human souls to His life of purity and love. 
For the Presbyterian Church, I have a sincere respect. 
It has occupied a prominent place in the history of 
religion since the day of Calvin, and has ever been the 
true friend of religious liberty. I know no better, 
more reliable class of laymen in any church than those 
of the Presbyterian Church in this and in other cities ; 


and I hardly know where one will find a man of better 
spirit, who preaches more really excellent sermons 
than the now famous pastor of the Fourth Presbyterian 
Church. I respect him for the purity of his life, for 
the catholicity of his spirit, and for his evident, earnest 
desire to benefit his fellow-men. May his ministry be 
long, and always as successful as now. These church 
dissensions afford me personally very little satis- 
faction. They are useful as aids in developing truth, 
and in other respects, as already noted, but they 
alienate brethren and weaken the church as a spiritual 
power. I long for that day when all who draw their 
faith from the Bible, and accept Christ as a divinely 
commissioned teacher, shall so far make their technical 
sectarian opinions subordinate as to stand shoulder to 
shoulder with their faces to the common foe." 


In October, 1874, the "Chicago Advance" 
(Congregational) published an article from the 
Rev. Dr. W. W. Patton, which said : — 

" So far as our acquaintance extends, those min- 
A Protest isters and churches that fully accept the 
against Mis- u iti ma t e and binding authority of the New 

representa- ° 

tion. Testament, firmly hold the doctrine of end- 

less punishment." 

To this Dr. Ryder replied, through the press, 
and in the course of his article he said : — 


'• We do not want to be discourteous, but we find it 
difficult to characterize this statement as it deserves, 
and not seem to be. For the impertinence of any 
such pretension is only equalled by the falsity of the 
impression it is intended to make. It is simply not 
t rue — and the scholarly and critical editor of the 
"Advance" knows this as well as any one — that 
the ministers and churches that reject the tenet of 
endless misery also reject the New Testament as 
binding and ultimate authority. He accuses his 
brethren wrong-fully, and mis-states what, from per- 
sonal knowledge, he knows to be their opinions. The 
Universalist Church of America accepts the new Testa- 
ment as ultimate and binding authority as heartily 
and reverently as any existing Protestant sect, and 
they certainly do not believe in endless misery. . . . 
While, therefore, they reject this interpretation of the 
teaching of our Lord, they cling with a more tender 
sympathy to His gracious words, now that the con- 
viction of the reason is in accord with the love of the 

The frankness here illustrated was an early 
trait. In lS-i6, at the age of twenty-four, he 
related in the ••Trumpet" his experience with 
the Rev. Mr. Cordwainer, in Montreal, who 
desired him to occupy his pulpit, provided he 
would say nothing peculiar to his (Bro. Ryder's) 
denomination. Of course Bro. Ryder had too 
good sense to obtrude his special views where 
they would be obnoxious, but he had too much 


self-respect to make any such pledge, saying he 
" treated such littleness with the contempt it 
deserved," and declined to preach hampered by 
such a pledge. 


During the winter of 1874-75 a stirring con- 
troversy sprang up on the Sunday question. 
Controversy A distinguished Unitarian clergyman 

on the Sun- . GJ 

day Question, took the side of open beer-gardens, 
and among other things said : — 

"My people on Sunday morning go to church, and 
on Sunday afternoon many of them go to Turner 
Hall to hear the music, and I say, ' Go ahead.' " 

To this language Dr. Ryder took exception, 
and declared the position of the clergyman al- 
luded to harmful to the public interests. He 
freely criticised the persons and that portion 
of the city press that had advocated the " con- 
tinental Sunday," and urged the proper ob- 
servance of the day. He said : — 

" Puritan strictness I neither recommend nor 
practise. Great freedom should be allowed in the 
observance of the day, and to a certain extent the 
social element may be interwoven with religious 
observances. The Sabbath was made for man's 
benefit, not injury, — as a day of rest to overtaxed 


energies ; as a season of meditation and worship, 
calling his attention at stated intervals from worldly 
cares, and fixing it upon moral and spiritual truths. 
. . . Now with this corrupting moral sentiment 
so prevalent in the community, and this tendency 
to vulgarity which certain of our great dailies un- 
consciously reflect, and finally with prominent 
ministers advising the members of their congre- 
gations to ' conquer their prejudices,' and go to 
Turner Hall on Sunday afternoon, what think you 
of the probabilities for the moral welfare of this 
city, and for those whom these influences control?" 

On this, as on all moral or other questions 
affecting; the interests of the individual or the 
public his precept and example were always 
elevating and ennobling, and in accord with 
the sentiment of the friends of temperance, 
morality, and religion. 


Previous to the meeting of the General 

Convention, held in Lynn, Mass., October 20- 

22, 1875, Dr. Ryder was appointed 

incident in to address his brethren on the denom- 

Lyuu, Mass. ... , -. , n . -, 

mational wants and deficiencies. It 
was understood that he should frankly point 
out such defects as appeared to him. On the 
20th he delivered his address with great plain- 


ness of speech. There was none of the 
mutual admiration tone that too often charac- 
terizes the typical convention address ; in- 
deed, in the opinion of many of his hearers 
he erred in the opposite extreme, and by as- 
cribing to the " average Universalist " what 
he had seen in the exceptionally inconsistent, 
exaggerated faults and shortcomings. He 
painted the portrait of what he called the 
" average Universalist," the original of which 
he no doubt had often seen in our churches, 
the hanger-on to tbe ragged edge of the de- 
nomination, the merely negative repudiator of 
" hell-fire," who does not accept the Christian 
responsibilities which Christian Universalism 
makes imperative. His severe characteriza- 
tions aroused the opposition of some of his 
brethren, the result of which was that the 
next morning a resolution was introduced 
censuring him for his utterances, and declaring 
that he had done great injustice to the Uni- 
versalist ministry and people. 

Many brethren did not agree with the 
speaker's descriptions and conclusions, but 
they held that as he had been invited to diag- 
nose the condition of the denomination, and as 
he had undoubtedly conscientiously performed 
his task, he was to be commended for his fidelitv, 


and not blamed, even by those who could not 
accept his statements as accurately describing 
the situation. They denounced the resolution 
as unjustly blaming the adviser of the church 
for giving honest advice when solicited, and 
so as unworthy the occasion. 

Dr. Ryder defended his positions with great 
ability, and it was soon perceptible that while 
few of the members of the convention fully 
agreed with the speaker's diagnosis, they were 
unwilling to rebuke him for giving an honest 
opinion. The convention adjourned at noon 
in much excitement. 

At the opening of the afternoon session 
Dr. Ryder made a magnificent address, so 
powerfully defending his position and pre- 
senting his views that he carried the con- 
vention with him almost en masse, and even 
those who regarded his descriptions of " the 
average Universalist " as exaggerated opposed 
the passage of any resolution of censure, and 
the mover readily obtained unanimous leave 
to withdraw his motion. 

Throucrhout the contest Dr. Rvder was at 
his best. His lofty tone as he described the 
ideal Universalist, and delineated the style of 
Christian that the professor of such a religion 
as his should be, and as he presented the 


sublime principles and demands of our faith 
as he understood it, reinforced by the splendid 
example which his hearers knew he had al- 
ways given in illustration, in his spirit and 
life, captivated all who heard him, and car- 
ried their sympathies and suffrages. The 
withdrawal of the resolution left him in pos- 
session of the field. And though he came 
to acknowledge later that his anxiety to de- 
scribe tendencies that must be corrected or 
the health of his beloved church would suf- 
fer might have led him to put too much 
shadow into his picture, the phrase he had 
employed — " the average Universal ist " — was 
for years almost stereotyped in our current 
literature, and the discussion he aroused re- 
sulted in great good. 


A sermon preached Dec. 5, 1875, entitled 

•' Do the Four Gospels teach Endless Pnnish- 

ment?" commanded great attention. 

His sermons; ° 

a Doctrinal Several thousand copies were circu- 


lated in pamphlet form. It was 
preceded by four revival sermons on "New 
Birth," "The Ninety and Nine," "Takino- 
Soundings," "For What and for Whom did 


Christ die ? " Extracts from the first-named are 
here given : — 

" First : The paternal character of God is a specific 
doctrine of the teaching of Christ; with similar clear- 
ness and force it is taught nowhere else. The pater- 
nity of God stands out upon the pages of the Gospels 
as one of its essential doctrines. Second : Revenge- 
ful acts, inhuman deeds, are, by general consent, char- 
acterized as unchristian. Prison discipline and all 
treatment of those who suffer the penalty of human 
laws, and even of beasts of burden, public senti- 
ment demands shall not be needlessly cruel, but tem- 
pered with mercy. These suggestions of kindness are 
not instinctive, and they are by no means general. 
So far as they are the product of the gospel they 
show its teachings to be merciful and forgiving. 
Third : On the other hand, we can hardly think of 
the Bible without associating with it the Divine ab- 
horrence of sin. Christ came to remove it ; he died 
that men might be reconciled to God. But is not 
this abhorrence of sin consistent with God's regard 
for the sinner? Was it not this love of God that 
caused Christ to live and die for sinful man ? The 
Bible emphatically declares that ' God is love.' 

" This is said of the substance of his nature. But 
justice is an attribute of God, and nothing more. 
Justice is therefore included ill the general descrip- 
tion of the nature of God, just as much as mercy, and 
of these two, and of all other attributes of the Divine 
mind, it is declared — ' God is love.' 


" In commencing the study of the Gospels are we 
not, then, justified in assuming that, whatever may be 
the penalty of sin which it reveals, that penalty is 
consistent with the fatherly nature of God, and with 
its own pleading for the exercise of forgiveness 
toward those who offend against us ? Any other view 
would seem to make the teaching of the Gospels con- 
tradictory. Certainly we may commence the study 
with the presumption that the penalty for sin is not 
inconsistent with the fatherly nature of God, — at the 
least it cannot be irreconcilably opposed to it. . . . 

" But this is not the worst of the case. Endless 
retribution for the sins of this life can never be har- 
monized with the goodness of God. With the words 
of Christ thus interpreted, one portion of his divine 
message to mankind contradicts another portion of 
it. This contradiction in terms and spirit greatly 
weakens the authority of religion. But why inter- 
pret the words of Christ so as to set one portion of 
his teaching against the other ? The difficulty which 
we state is wholly gratuitous and unnecessary. If, 
instead of finding endless punishment in the words 
of Jesus, you find only future punishment, the shad- 
ows at once flee away, and the light of consistency 
shines through the entire ministry of Christ. In that 
case you vindicate the justice of God, but you do not 
do so at the cost of his mercy. Then forgiveness 
has its proper prominence in the Christian system ; 
then there is opportunity to adjust the inequalities of 
this life, giving to all souls alike a fair chance ; then 
the conscientious believer is relieved of the awkward 


explanations concerning infants and the heathen ; 
then God is truly sovereign. Christ truly Saviour, 
heaven truly home ; then you put meaning into the 
song of 'glad tidings' which the angels sang at the 
birth of Christ, meaning into the tears of Geth- 
semane, meaning into the death of Christ, and mean- 
ing also into that prayer for forgiveness which he 
breathed out upon a wicked world. Why not, then, 
adopt this explanation ? Why not at once and for- 
ever throw aside every phrase in every creed that im- 
plies any such doom for the wicked, and accept this 
more consistent and probable view of the teachings 
of the words of the Master ? " 

The discourse very ably elaborates the thoughts 
thus started. 


In the year 1876 Dr. Ryder was invited to 

take the general secretaryship of our church. 

He had then been pastor in Chicago 

Declines the . ° 

General sec- seventeen years. On the evening of 
Thursday, Nov. 9, the parish unani- 
mously resolved, — 

" That in a pastorate of seventeen years Rev. Dr. 
Ryder has not only endeared himself to his parish as 
its pastor, but has convinced all of his ability as an 
adviser, both cautious and courageous ; that we have 
learned with regret of any disposition on his part to 
leave us for any other field of labor ; that we ear- 


nestly beseech him to dismiss from his mind any 
thought but that of continuing in the pastorate of 
St. Paul's Church ; that we hereby promise and pledge 
to him our cordial and earnest support, and promise 
to follow him in a true consecration to all he shall 
point out as our duty as members of his church and 

On the next Sunday morning he responded 
to the parish action in affectionate terms, saying 
that his belief in the love of his people had by 
their vote been transformed into knowledge, and 
that he would remain as they requested. In the 
course of his response he made the following 
''suggestions:" (1) that the floating debt of 
the church should be paid at once; (2) that 
the working expenses should be kept within the 
income; (3) that he should be at liberty on 
Jan. 1, 1878, to resign his pastorate, if he at 
that time should consider it best; (4) that 
permanent sittings should be provided for all 
desiring them, and a liberal policy pursued 
towards those unable to pay for the support 
of public worship; and (5) that several well- 
known members should be selected to assist 
the ushers in welcoming strangers. 

This action riveted the relations between the 
pastor and the flock, but it left open the oppor- 
tunity for Dr. Ryder to execute a long cherished 


plan to make another European journey. His 
resolution to remain, however, averted what, at 
that critical time, might have resulted in a 
calamity to St. Paul's. 


In the year 1877 the famous evangelist, 
D. L. Moody, conducted one of his revival cam- 
The Famous P ai g ns in Chicago. The principal 
Letter to a evangelical " forces of the city were 

Evangelist ° J 

Moody. combined in a general movement. But 
so profound was the respect cherished by the 
pastors and people of those churches for the 
Christian character and standing of Dr. Ryder, 
and so valuable was his influence considered to 
be in behalf of religion, that the leaders resolved 
to invite him to co-operate in the movement. A 
committee conveyed to him the feeling of the 
churches, and extended an invitation to partici- 
pate. Of course Dr. Ryder was pleased with 
such a token of confidence in himself on the 
part of the leaders of the partialist churches, 
and he was especially gratified at the tone of 
Christian kindliness and charity indicated by 
the action ; but he was too just to his brethren 
to appropriate to himself that which they could 
not share, and which he knew them to be as 


much entitled to as he was himself. So after 
the request had been suitably acknowledged, Dr. 
Ryder enquired if the kind and courteous invi- 
tation were merely personal to himself, or did it 
include St. Paul's Church and his brethren gen- 
erally ? The committee frankly replied that the 
invitation was purely personal, and was not in- 
tended in any respect to include the denomina- 
tion to which Dr. Ryder belonged. Whereupon 
the request was at once firmly but courteously 
declined, in substantially these terms, — 

" I can only go, and only desire to go, where my 
church goes ; the doors that are closed to my brethren 
cannot be entered by me." 

But while he cast no obstacle in the way of 
the revival, and recognized whatever of good it 
wrought, he was no less the faithful critic of its 
course ; and when Mr. Moody was about to 
transfer his activities to Boston, Dr. Ryder ad- 
dressed an " Open Letter" to him, which at the 
time created a marked sensation not only in 
Chicago, but throughout the Northwest. The 
" Letter " increased the respect felt for its author 
and Universalism in all the churches, and in the 
religious and the general community. The docu- 
ment is an admirable illustration of the grand 
spirit in which he met all occasions. Space 


permits only brief extracts from the " Open 
Letter : " — 

"My dear Brother, — It is well known to some 
who are associated with you in your Gospel Meetings 
that you have had very largely my sympathies in your 
religious work from the very first, and when I learned 
that you were to hegin a scries of services in this 
city [Chicago], I did not hesitate to say that I was 
glad you were coming, and that I wished you success. 
Even when subsequently it became apparent that a 
portion of the Christian community was to be shut 
out of active participation in these meetings, and that 
they were to be " union " only so far as they included 
the so-called ' evangelical ' denominations, I did not 
withdraw my interest in them nor cease to hope that 
they might be productive of much good. However 
I might dissent from your general policy, I was 
determined that there should be no uncharitablencss 
in anything I might do or say in reference to your 
work, and no organized hindrance to it on the part 
of those differing from you, so far as my example 
and advice might go. 

" The series of meetings under your direction in 
this city is now about terminating, and you are soon 
to leave this locality, to commence a similar work in 
Boston. As an ' outside pastor,' one who has known 
something of you during the most of his seventeen 
years' residence in this city, and who sincerely de- 
sires to recognize the good in any form of Christian 
work, and do justiee to all consecrated servants of 
Christ of every name, I have thought it possible 


that an unreserved statement of the impression which 
your Gospel Meetings have made upon my mind 
might be of service to the cause of religion, possibly 
of benefit to you, as well as just to myself. . . . 

" Of the permanent results of your labors this is not 
the time to express an opinion. Many have been 
converted ; more have been convicted ; more still en- 
couraged to lead a better life. For every soul won to 
Christ, or that has received even encouragement to 
walk in the right way, I am personally thankful. 

" And now, my brother, with the same frankness with 
which I have commended your fidelity and recognized 
your usefulness, I shall proceed to specify certain 
phases of your work from which I am compelled to 
dissent, and which I believe are needless obstacles in 
the way of your usefulness. Your Gospel Meetings 
have done good, but they have also done harm. The 
influence has not been all one way. Many persons 
have been helped, but some have been hindered ; 
while others have had their faces turned away 
altogether from religious things. . . . 

" My brother, you have been very free to express 
your opinion of other people's beliefs and methods 
of work. Acting on the rule by which you yourself 
are governed, I shall without hesitancy specify three 
particulars made prominent in your meetings in this 
city which I think are open to objection and have 
lessened your usefulness. 

" First. I believe you made a mistake in planning 
your meetings by excluding the so-called non-evan- 
gelical sects from official participation in them. Had 



the call to organize these meetings heen extended to 
all Christian churches willing to co-operate in a series 
of Gospel Meetings under your leadership, you would 
have secured a much wider support, won the favor by 
your catholicity of a constituency which your sec- 
tarian position somewhat alienated, and presented to 
the community a united and co-operating Christian 
church that would have been an honor to the Christian 
profession, and the herald of a better time. Such a 
spectacle would have touched the hearts of hundreds 
whom you now can never reach. The revival has 
been successful ; but it might have been more success- 
ful, and more widely useful. Let me suggest to you, 
my brother, that in commencing your meetings in 
Boston you widen your invitation to the churches so 
as to include them all. With no propriety can you 
ignore, in your religious work in that city, such men 
as the Rev. Edward Everett Hale, Dr. Alonzo A. 
Miner, the Rev. Dr. Worcester, etc., — men of long 
devotion to the cause of Christ, and of conspicuous 
prominence in almost every branch of reform. If, on 
account of any peculiar ideas of yours, you cannot 
work with such men as they, with what propriety can 
you talk about a union of all Christians while you 
thus deliberately and purposely exclude from official 
participation in your Gospel Meetings a very large 
and prominent portion of the best Christian life in 
Boston ? 

" Second. The second criticism I make upon your 
labors here is your persistent efforts to show the 
worthlessness of morality as an element in the soul's 


salvation. And you emphasize this idea so repeatedly, 
and so emphatically declare that man can do nothing 
whatever toward saving himself, and that the more he 
tries to do so, the further he is from the result, that 
you seem to me not only to underrate the value of 
morality as a factor in human life, but actually dis- 
courage effort to obtain it. Your purpose is clear 
enough. You wish to have i: appear that Christ is 
the all, that one drop of his sacrificial blood will 
save the soul from the companionship of devils, and 
nothing else will. But in your zeal to do that you 
are led into certain serious errors. You make the 
blood of Christ almost literally a fetish. You talk 
about the literal blood of the Lord, forgetting for the 
time — as it would seem — that his blood is not in 
any way now obtainable, and that even could it be, 
there is in it, as literal blood, no moral virtue what- 
ever. It is the grace of God consciously accepted 
into the soul of the believer, and it is for this grace of. 
God that the blood of the crucified Saviour stands. 
The need of the world is not the appropriation of the 
literal blood of Christ, but the application of the 
grace of God. Nor do I, in this statement, in any 
way undervalue the grandeur of the death of Christ, 
or lessen the efficacy of his sacrifice on Calvary. . . . 
" My brother, there is no substitute for personal 
character, and, as true as you live, the Bible puts an 
emphasis upon the state of the heart, and not upon 
the blood of Jesus Christ. . . . The reward of a Chris- 
tian life is not bread and meat, but ' peace and joy in 
the Holy Ghost.' 


- Third. There is one other point on which I wish 
to say a word. It is the narrowness of your theology. 
You insist that no one can be saved except by appro- 
priating to himself the merits of Christ, and that the 
substitutional or transferred righteousness must be 
accepted by the sinner previous to the death of the 
body. All who die without this sanctification are 
lost, and can never see God. And yet you talk elo- 
quently about the sufficiency of Christ, and probably 
the best sermon you have preached in this city is on 
the Love of God. My brother, let us make a few 
figures. There are now on this earth, according to 
recent data, 1,423,917,000 human beings. These are 
distributed as follows: Europe, 309,177,300; Asia, 
824,348,500 ; Africa, 199,521,000 ; Australia and Poly- 
nesia, 4,748,000 ; America, 85,319,000. Of this billion 
and one half, how many, think you, will be saved, 
according to your theory ? Asia, with her 824,000,000, 
must be thrown out almost wholly. Africa much the 
same. Polynesia and Australia would hardly furnish 
enough for a Tabernacle audience. And as to Europe 
and America, while the case is more hopeful, the pro- 
portion of those who could be saved, according to 
your rigid test, is very small. Remember, as you 
phrase it, it is not character, nor honesty of purpose, 
nor doing the best one knows, that saves, but the 
actual appropriation by the sinner of the blood of 
Christ, with the conscious acceptance of the imputed 
righteousness which he possesses. How many, think 
you, in Europe and America, have complied with these 
conditions ? Take the saved on these terms, even in 


this very city, or in any other large community, as a 
basis, and you will have to figure very liberally to 
make more than 40,000,000, — the present population 
of the United States. Forty millions out of oue 
billion and about four hundred and twenty-four 
millions ! My brother, ponder these figures. In 
view of them, who rules the universe, God or the 
devil ? Is this the best that the grace of God can do 
for mankind ? You say, ' That only shows that hu- 
man nature is a failure, not that the grace of God is.' 
But are you right in this ? If the grace of God saves 
only one small fraction of the integer of the race, 
what is it but a failure ? God created man and fash- 
ioned him as he chose, and from the beginning he has 
controlled every other element that enters into this 
question of salvation. And if now it is made to ap- 
pear that he has lost the control of all but a mere 
remnant of his great family, and that devils have risen 
up and wrested the sceptre both from him and the 
Son of his love, whom he sent to redeem the world, 
I respectfully submit, on this showing, that the gov- 
ernment of God is a failure, and that hell and the 
rulers of it, and not heaven and its rulers, have 
gained the victory. But the government of God is 
not a failure. Human nature is not a failure. The 
world is not getting worse ; you are in the wrong 
when you say so. You employ the cant phraseology 
of the Church, my brother, when you talk in that 
way. History is against you. In true civilization the 
inhabitants of this earth were never as far advanced 
as now. God rules. He fills all the space in all his 


universe. The devil you speak of. who disputes the 
throne with him, is a myth. Our blessed Lord re- 
cognized no such devil as that ; and the devil of which 
Paul speaks, he says Christ has destroyed. Oh, my 
brother, millions of human souls rejoice in a better 
hope than this which you preach. How dare you 
shut the gate of heaven against uncounted millions of 
the human race ? But if you must, how can you 
preach the love of God and the triumph of the 
Cross? . . . 

" 1 had hoped to see it [Christian union] in this 
great city of the Northwest, in connection with your 
meetings, but I have been disappointed. In Chris- 
tian courtesy and neighborly good-will, this union of 
all the churches on the basis of loyalty to Christ is 
realized now. But you have chosen to work upon a 
sectarian basis, and not upon this broader ground of 
brotherly fellowship. Be it so. The responsibility 
is yours, not mine. Time moves on ; a few years 
more and all these differences of belief will be ended 
with those now living. We shall see our blessed 
Lord as He is, and ourselves know as we are known. 
Until then may we both be guided by the unerring 
wisdom of God, and exemplify in our daily lives the 
religion we profess." 

The argument and spirit of this document 
render it a classic in our church literature. 



Prof. David Swing, D. D., Presbyterian, sub- 
sequently pastor of the Central Music Hall 
Church, and the Rev. H. W. Thomas, 

Letter to __,_,.. . n -, ,. 

Prof. d. D. D., Methodist, afterward pastor ot 
dTii.'w. the People's Church, Independents, 
had for some time been, like Milton's 
lion, " pawing to get free " from their theological 
environment. In the partial light in which 
they were groping they could only see " men as 
trees walking." When on Jan. 6, 1878, they 
announced their new views on " Hell," these 
views were so in line with those of our church 
that Dr. Ryder addressed them a letter through 
the secular press : — 

"Dear Brothers, — Please accept my congratula- 
tions. I have read the sermons preached to your 
respective congregations on Sunday last, and hasten 
to thank you for them. The sentiments you express 
in reference to future punishment are so nearly simi- 
lar to those which I have been trying to preach for 
the last thirty-five years that you may well suppose 
I feel greatly encouraged in having two such efficient 
co-workers. It is true you both approach the great 
subject of man's final doom with evident hesitancy, 
and on certain vital points state your views with 
vagueness of language. . . . This more considerate 
treatment is in accord with Professor Swing's edito- 


rial in the ' Alliance' of Dec. 29, in which he says: 
' Unless something is clone for Mr. Swing hy those 
who have definite information about things beyond 
the cold river, he will probably plod along in great 
vagueness of language. Definite language should 
come onlv as rapidly as the definite information comes. 
If Dr. Ryder has positive information about these 
matters he is justified in announcing a positive faith ; 
but if he has only such proof as has long been acces- 
sible to other men, any boasting over fixed views 
would seem premature. No man has any right to 
fixed views before he has found fixed evidence.' 

" Of course, until Professor Swing gets fixed evi- 
dence his friends will not expect him to have fixed 
views as to man's future welfare. But, for myself, I 
shall not be disturbed even on this point, for the 
definite information will certainly come, and espe- 
cially when we all give our attention a little more 
closelv to the teachings of the New Testament, and 
less to our personal speculations. And this leads me 
to say that I hope neither of you will overlook the 
fact that the Bible does teach that there is a hell, the 
only question being as to the nature and duration of 
it. I trust, therefore, that our orthodox friends re- 
cently born into this more hopeful view of the govern- 
ment of God, will not attempt to set aside this Bible 
view, else the religious world may yet have the strange 
spectacle of the Universalists defending the hell of 
the Bible against the denial of it by the orthodox 
party. How pleasant, my dear Professor, to think of 
your parish as the Central Universalist Church ! and 


of yours, my dear Doctor, as the Centenary Univer- 
salist Church ! I had not thought thus suddenly to 
have so important an accession to our denominational 
forces. ' Blest be the tie that binds,' etc." 


Though the main drift of Dr. Ryder's preach- 
ing related to the practical, e very-day concerns 
His Pnipit °f l^ e > ne kept a far-seeing and sharp 
Themes. lookout for all themes relating to the 
public interests. Such topics were treated as 
" Creedless Churches," bearing on the attempt 
in some quarters to establish religious organiza- 
tions of the invertebrate sort ; " Sunday Laws," 
opposing the attempt to restore the Continental 
Sunday, in place of the American Sunday ; 
" Christian and Atheistic Civilization," vieor- 
ously supporting the Christian character of 
the American government; " The Doom of the 
Wicked an Open Question in Theology;" "The 
Case of Dr. Thomas and the Methodist Church ; " 
" A Review of Ingersoll's ' Mistakes of Moses ; ' ' 
" The Trial of Professor David Swing for Her- 
esy ; " "Dedication Address," Dean Academy, 
Franklin, Mass., June 24, 1873; "Review of 
the History of the Temperance Reform," and 
others, which found their way into print and 
commanded great attention. 


The sermon on " Sunday Laws," preached 
May 13, 1879, was a valuable contribution to 
the literature of the Sunday question. It gave 
an accurate survey of the history of the subject, 
and argued that the public good demands absti- 
nence from business, and a due regard to virtue, 
morality, religion, and public order on Sunday, 
secured by law. It exhorted the faithful and 
loyal to join hands, hearts, and prayers in aiding 
the civil authorities " in maintaining: the dig- 
nity of the law, and in restoring our city to 
better ways." " The Mistakes of Ingersoll," 
preached in March, 1879, was probably the 
ablest of the many replies made to the eloquent 
rationalist. A large number of the Chicago 
clergy of different denominations requested its 
repetition and publication. It was printed in a 
pamphlet and largely circulated. 


In the years 1879 and 1880 came a critical 
period in the history of St. Paul's Church. Im- 
mediately after the fire of October, 

A Crisis 

1871, the parish was offered $1,350 a 
front foot for the site on which the church 
had stood. This would have netted more than 
$112,000 towards the new site and building. 


The best business men advocated the sale, but 
the majority favored holding for a higher price. 
Directly values in the vicinity began to deterio- 
rate, and the lot for a while was practically 
unsalable. Meanwhile the building of the new 
church progressed, and it became necessary 
to borrow a large sum to prosecute the work. 
Interest accumulated, and soon the parish found 
itself with an unsalable lot and a large debt 
on hand. The upshot was, that the old lot 
when sold did not realize anything like the 
amount once offered, and interest and depreci- 
ation sank at least as much as Dr. Eycler had 
collected at the East. And it may be said in 
passing that had that amount not been raised, 
it is more than probable that the parish would 
have been hopelessly involved. At any rate, 
1880 was a perilous year. The enormous sum 
of $50,000 had been borrowed, and the in- 
terest had accumulated till the debt reached 


The Church of the Divine Paternity, New 
York, had invited Dr. Ryder to become asso- 
invitedto c i ate pastor with Rev. E. H. Chapin, 
New York, j) j) _ whose health had become per- 
manently impaired, — the parish stipulating that 


Dr. Ryder should to all intents and purposes be 
the pastor of the church, as much so as if he 
were not associated with the eloquent man who 
had so long been the pulpit orator of New 
York and of America. To be selected as first 
choice by this great congregation was felt by 
Dr. Ryder to be a most flattering and gratifying 
compliment, and he could not help giving the 
invitation a long and favorable consideration. 
It opened before him new avenues of usefulness, 
and held out tempting inducements, while at 
the same time he thought that possibly he had 
done all he could do in Chicago, and that an- 
other might do more for St. Paul's than lay in 
his power. With his usual frankness he waited 
upon his friend Dr. Chapin, and told him that 
the church desired him to become the active 
minister, while the eloquent Chapin should, in 
his declining health, occupy the position of 
pastor emeritus. Dr. Ellis, in his biography of 
Chapin, relates that when Dr. Ryder tenderly 
introduced the subject, " the spent minister ex- 
claimed in ready submission and eloquent phrase, 
' Oh, I see ; I am to vacate the quarter-deck, and 
you take command.' ' But flattering as was 
the request, and grandly as no doubt the posi- 
tion would have been filled, it was wisely de- 
clined, as it was plainly seen by Dr. Ryder that 


the peril to the interests of St. Paul's was too 
great to permit his resignation. 


About this time a movement was begun bv 
Hon. Edson Keith to extinguish the parish 
An Hour of d^t '■> ne with great generosity having 
Tnumph. resolved to secure its annihilation. 
Generous contributions flowed in, and in April. 
1880, Dr. Ryder had the great satisfaction — on 
one of the happiest days of his life — of going 
to Milwaukee with Mr. Keith's check of 
$56,901.18, which he paid to the Northwestern 
Mutual Life Insurance Company, and cancelled 
the debt that had been so weighty an incubus 
on the parish life. Of this sum, Mr. Keith. 
with almost unexampled liberality, contributed 
about $26,000. This movement, so successfully 
accomplished, determined Dr. Ryder to remain 
with the church of his love, and unalterably 
fixed his purpose to have no other pastorate 
than the one to which he had devoted a score 
of years. 



When H. W. Thomas. D. D., was on trial be- 
fore the Methodist Conference, in 1881, Dr. 
Ryder took the ground that, while he 

Sermon on . . _ . 

Dr. Thomas's sympathized with Dr. 1 nomas s views, 
he could not endorse his position in 
attempting to retain his standing in the Metho- 
dist Church, while advocating doctrines that 
the Methodist Church rejected. In a sermon 
preached Oct. 25, 1881, he argued that it is the 
duty of any one who abandons the tenets of the 
church with which he is connected to retire 
from its ministry whenever he makes the dis- 
covery. His right to freedom of thought and 
speech does not include a right to remain inside 
a denomination whose principles he repudiates. 

Referring to the progress of other denomi- 
nations, and their tendency towards Univer- 
salism, and their disposition to appropriate our 
principles without realizing their outcome, he 
told this good story : — 

" A traveller on a journey, escorted by a colored 
guide, came to a small stream. ' What is this river?' 
said the traveller. ' This is the Chick river,' said the 
guide. The traveller did not recall the name of any 
such river, and as they passed on they were soon 
upon the bank of another stream. ' And what is tins 


river?' said the traveller. ' This is the A river,' re- 
plied the guide. Soon they had to cross the Hom 
river, and then the I river, and then the Ny, and 
while the traveller wondered why he had never heard 
of any of these streams before they stood upon the 
borders of a river much larger than any they had as 
yet seen. ' And what is this great river ? ' asked the 
traveller. ' This,' answered the guide, ' is the big 
stream that all the little ones make up. You have 
had the Chick, and the A, and the Hom, and the I, and 
the Ny, and here you have the Chickahominy.' Some 
of our friends in the other denominations who desire 
to have it understood that they do not belong to us, 
may find their mental states illustrated by this inci- 
dent. They have crossed the U, and the Ni, and the 
Ver, and the Sal, and the 1st, rivers, and if they never 
reach the full flowing stream of which each of these 
branches is a part, it may be that the real reason is 
they have never united the several syllables to see 
what they spell." 

The discourse made a discrimination that is 
often overlooked. It was full of sympathy with 
Dr. Thomas's views, while recognizing the rights 
of those whose doctrines he had discarded. He 
insisted that the liberty of one ceases when it 
reaches the borders of the rights of others. 

The discourse concluded, — 

" There is very little about these discussions in any 
way new to us. Many of the ideas which seem to be 


hailed with so much joy when labelled with some 
other denominational name are as familiar to us as 
the faces of lifelong friends. . . . Universalism is not 
what is technically called Rationalism, not a philo- 
sophical speculation, not even a pleasing hope, but 
the Christian faith as we understand it, and of which 
the cross of Christ is the central fact, ... I am a Uni- 
versalist. My convictions are clear and strong. Into 
that church I was born ; in that church I expect to 
die, and to that church I fondly look to perform for 
me the last offices of religion. But that is no reason 
why I should not bid God-speed to any faithful disciple 
of the Master, of any name whatsoever." 


By appointment Dr. Ryder preached the oc- 
casional sermon before the General Convention 
in Detroit, in 1881. He performed 

Occasional _ _ 

Sermon in that duty October I'd. His text was 

Detroit, 1881. .. . m1 . . , 

1 Ihess. n. 4. lne searching and ur- 
gent quality of the discourse can be gauged 
from its exordium : — 

" The Universalist Church in annual convention 
assembled, before which I have the honor now to 
stand, is a branch of that church which was founded 
by our Lord, and which was so fully interpreted by 
the author of our text. And since in some degree we 
also are thus honored of the Master, and bear the evi- 
dence of his approval in that we are intrusted with 


the gospel, it becomes us to examine ourselves as to 
our personal fitness, and the organized body of -which 
we are members as to its efficiency for the important 
service to which we have been called. For no higher 
work and no more sacred duty can be assigned to 
man than to be ' a laborer together with God.' The 
Christian church is the divine instrumentality for 
the redemption of the world. But this divine in- 
strumentality is necessarily committed to human care. 
' We have this treasure in earthen vessels,' and it is all 
important that those who are intrusted with the care 
of the churches should be suited to their work, well 
furnished in heart and mind, and, so far as man may 
be, competent to stand between the Master and his 
church. As is the ministry, so is the denomination, 
and as is the denomination, so is it 'the savor of life 
unto life, or death unto death.' 'Ye are the salt of 
the earth,' said Jesus to his disciples, in his first 
formal address to them. ' But,' he quickly added, ' if 
the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be 
salted ? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be 
cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.' Salt 
is needful to the healthfulness of organized life, but 
if the salt lose its preservative principle it becomes 
useless, nay, it is worse than useless, for it cannot be 
appropriated even as dressing to the fields, but must 
be thrown into the streets to be buried from human 
sight, or crushed under the wheels of traffic. There- 
fore, in the very commencement of his ministry does 
the Lord say to those who of all on earth were to 
hold the highest offices in his kingdom : ' There is for 


you no middle course; you are the salt of the earth, 
or your work is worthless.' As has been well said, 
' you must be either the very life of the world or fail 
utterly. If not Peter, then Judas ' [Cobb's Com. 
Matt. v. 13] ; and with what searching power do these 
words come across the centuries to us who have 
assembled here to-day. Have we within ourselves, as 
a religious body, this preservative power ? Are we 
vitally joined to the Lord, and does he speak and 
work through us ? If the answer to these questions 
be in the affirmative, then have we no occasion to vin- 
dicate our right to be here as a branch of the living 
vine. But if the answer must be in the negative, 
then is defence of our right needless, for no vindi- 
cation can set aside the verdict of the Saviour." 


The following will give the reader a favor- 
able specimen of Dr. Ryder's treatment of con- 
troverted themes, as well as his views on a moot 
point : — 

" As to the theory of punishment now especially 
prominent, — namely, endless sinning necessitates 
„ „ c . endless punishment, — we have but to say 

Endless Sin, L 

and Endless that the statement that so long as one 
sins he will be punished seems to us little 
less than an axiom, and therefore if it can be shown 
that man is to sin endlessly we shall concede that 
the dogma of endless punishment is proven. But it 


is unfortunate for the force of this argument that the 
proposition to be proved is the one that is assumed to 
be true. For how does any one know that those who 
die in sin will sin endlessly? How does any one 
know that after that event they will sin at all ? It 
seems to us that the first position to be substantiated 
in this form of argument is that some person will 
certainly sin in the immortal world ; and the second 
is, that those who do once sin there will sin always. 
But neither of these positions is proven. There is no 
evidence, even, that any one will sin at all in the im- 
mortal state ; but if that were proven one is happily 
a long way from showing that he who thus sins can- 
not cease from sinning. The last we know of man 
he has the power of choice. Even obdurate sinners 
sometimes exercise that power of choice when on the 
very verge of eternity. Is the freedom of the will 
eliminated from man by death ? If so, and he is com- 
pelled to sin after he is thus metamorphosed into 
some creature, is he responsible ? And if not respon- 
sible can he sin ? And if he does not sin can he be 
punished ? 

" Sin, we say, is an act of the will ; the mind must 
consciously assent. But is it not also true that the 
temptations to sin are chiefly in the bodily appetites, 
and associated with those things which belong to this 
life ? Death must work a wonderful change. "We 
sometimes forget, in the haste of speech, what is 
implied by the transition from this body to one suited 
to the higher needs of the soul. The spiritual body 
is not cognizable by either of our senses, or by any 


knowledge of the mind. We apprehend the state- 
ment that there is a spiritual body, and we accept the 
doctrine as true ; but both the spiritual body and the 
spiritual state in which it is to exist are incomprehen- 
sible to us, and most likely much of our reasoning, 
in reference to the immortal life based upon analogy, 
or upon the structure of our bodies, or upon what 
seems likely to be from what now is, will be found to 
be fallacious. At any rate, I see no occasion for us 
to assent to the assumption that sin enters the im- 
mortal world. We stand upon firm ground and 
recognize all that is needful to give effectiveness 
to our appeals for a Christian life wdien we say that 
the consequences of our conduct affect the spiritual 
purity of that in us which survives the grave. Be- 
yond this, I respectfully suggest, we are not justified 
in going." 


Many a time his friends had heard him de- 
clare that he should not continue a settled 
uesio-ns his pastor after attaining the age of sixty. 
Pastorate. jj e ] iac i a g rea t dislike of " lingering 
superfluous on the stage ; " merely tolerated for 
what he had done, as so many ministers are 
who have passed "the " dead line." The physi- 
cian, the lawyer, the merchant of threescore 
and beyond possess a larger influence than when 
younger, and carry the confidence of their cli- 


ents, patients, aud customers, the cumulative 
result of past years. Too often the clergyman 
is supposed to be out of date, ' ; a back number," 
when really at his best, because the fickle taste 
of congregations prefers adolescence to maturity, 
veal to beef. Dr. Ryder was in the prime of 
his faculties and better than ever equipped for 
his work, and more firmly anchored in the 
affection and confidence of the public at sixty 
than at forty ; but he had inexorably deter- 
mined to terminate his pastoral connection with 
his beloved parish in 18S2. This he did per- 
emptorily and finally. 

The people of the church and congregation 
urged him to accept the position of pastor 
emeritus, but with his usual good judgment 
and conscientiousness, and regard for the pros- 
perity of his successors in office he declined, on 
the sole ground that he could not consent to be 
the cause of possible embarrassment to subse- 
quent pastors. At the annual meeting of St. 
Paul's Parish, Jan. 4, 1882, his resignation 
was read, in the course of which he said : — 

"But while all these changes have gone on, time 
has been counting up my years as well as the years 
of those who have been working with me, and to-day 
I am confronted by the fact — as unwelcome to me 
as it can be to any other person — that I have 


reached that period of life when it is wise for me 
to resign the responsible trust which I hold as pas- 
tor of your church. I stand upon the verge of 
sixty years of age, and have had a working ministry 
of nearly forty years. My health is yet quite firm, 
and I might be able to continue my ministry with 
you for several years yet ; but I do not think it 
best either for you or me that I make the experi- 
ment. St. Paul's Church, from its position in this 
great city, has become somewhat representative, 
and the pastor of it should be competent not only 
to perform the duties required of him here, but ready 
to answer all reasonable demands made upon him for 
the good of the order throughout the Northwest. 
Neither the standard of your pulpit nor the efficiency 
of your parish must be permitted to decline. 

" Besides, so far as my personal usefulness is con- 
cerned, I do not think it judicious for me to toil 
on here as I am now working until my health fails 
me and I am become unfit for active duty. If I 
retire now I leave you as a parish united, strong, 
and able to settle a pastor worthy of you ; and after 
a period of rest and travel I can enter upon some 
form of denominational service with the hope of 
doing further good to the Universalist Church which 
I desire to aid in sustaining as long as I live. You 
will understand that it is my purpose on leaving 
St. Paul's never again to become a settled pastor. 
My work in that department of my Master's vineyard 
will terminate with the expiration of my ministry 


" It seems to me worthy of special record that dur- 
ing the twenty-two years we have worked together 
there never has been the least conflict between us. 
You have uniformly treated me and mine generously 
and kindly. My pulpit has been absolutely free ; all 
your promises have been kept. I have no complaint 
to make against the parish as a whole or against 
any member of it; indeed, there is no one of all the 
Christian household to whom I cannot cordially give 
the hand of fraternal sympathy and good-will ; and 
if there is any one among you all who would not just 
as cheerfully accept mine, I do not know it. . . . 

" Havino* on my part fully reached the conclusion 
that it is best the connection should be dissolved, I 
herewith resign my charge as pastor of the First 
Universalist Society in Chicago, — said resignation 
to take effect in three months from this the first 
Sunday in January, 1882, that is, on the last Sunday 
in March next. 

" Christian friends, I trust that you will all believe 
that I write these words with sadness, and only after 
the most careful consideration. The decision here 
announced is an important and significant one to 
me ; but I have the consciousness that I have been 
led to it by the best of motives, and do sincerely 
hope that it will result in permanent good to the 
Church of Christ that I love so well, and which has 
done so much for me." 

The society took action as follows : the com- 
mittee on resignation reported at an adjourned 
meeting, held February 6, that Dr. Ryder's res- 


ignation was explicit and final, to take effect 
on the first Sunday in April, but that he had 
been prevailed upon to remain till after Easter, 
two Sundays longer. The report declares that 
the committee and all the parish regret 

k - most sincerely the closing of this relation, so full 
of happy memories that come to us as a part of the 
harvest of these twenty-two years of loving ministra- 
tions, [and that] they can but express the hope that 
some form of title may be given our honored pastor 
that shall indicate not only our kindly remembrance, 
but be an assurance in the future, that, although the 
active duties and larger responsibilities of the old re- 
lation have ceased, the bond of fraternal union is not 
broken or dissolved." 

The following l-esolutions were adopted : — 

"... That, while as a parish we feel it our duty to 
accept such resignation, we do so with feelings of 
deep sorrow and regret. Rarely in the history of 
pastor and parish can it be recorded that so much 
of harmony, mutual respect, and confidence exists 
as a true record of the past twenty-two years would 
make apparent. While in common with others we 
have not been exempt from adversity, yet through 
it all our mutual faith has neither been broken 
nor disturbed. It is also with thankful satisfaction 
that we recall the eminent services of our pastor 
in all that gives stability and dignity to St. Paul's 
parish, and makes it prominent among the relig- 
gious forces of this city and the Northwest. As a 


pastor, always thoughtful for the church of his love, 
he has, iu the way that Providence opened to him, 
sought to lead his people into its truest and best rela- 
tions, both as to doctrine and life. As a counsellor, 
prudent, painstaking, and conscientious, every confi- 
dence was safe in his keeping, and he ever advised 
truly and well. Warm-hearted, noble, and generous, 
he could overlook the common failings of our poor 
humanity, so that in his larger charity we ever found 
a brother and friend. 

" Resolved, That wishing to perpetuate in the years 
to come more than a memory of the pleasant relations 
that will too soon cease, we ask the privilege of con- 
ferring the title of ' pastor emeritus ' on our hon- 
ored pastor, the Rev. W. H. Ryder, and beg him to 
accept this as a token of that loving regard in which 
he is and ever will be held by those of us who have 
been helped by his ministrations. 

" Devoutly grateful for all the blessings of the past, 
and for the future trusting the guidance of the great 
Head of the Church, we commend one another to the 
word of that grace ' which is able to build us up and 
give us a part among them who are sanctified.' " 


In a letter to the Hon. Charles Whittier, of 
Roxbttry, in December, 1881, Dr. Ryder in- 
dicated that his purpose to retire from the 
pastoral relation was irrevocable. He wrote, — 


" Before this reaches you I shall have given to my 

trustees my letter of resignation as pastor of St. 

, Paul's Church. I spoke to you of my in- 

Letter to the 

Hon. Charles tention when we had the pleasure of seeing 
11 Uer ' you here in October last. I foresee that 
much effort will be made to induce me to revoke my 
decision ; but it is final, and with my retirement from 
this church my work as a pastor forever ends." 


In his farewell sermon, preached in the church 
on Michigan Avenue, April 16, 1882, which 
His Farewell contained many historical and personal 
Sermon. reminiscences already recorded in this 
volume, Dr. Ryder poured out his heart to his 
people, and gave them the principles by which 
his ministry had been actuated, and his work 
shaped and prosecuted. The following passages 
will be valuable with suggestion to those who 
would know how his ministry looked to such 
a man in retrospection : — 

"... Before leaving this branch of my subject I 
desire to say, and in part in answer to a question that 
is frequently put to me, that I do not regret having 
selected the ministry for my life-work. Indeed, I 
sometimes feel that I am not quite certain that I 
did select it, for my first recollection is that I was 
moving toward the ministry without any very clear 
idea as to which way the current was setting. But 


I am sure I do not regret that the current did set 
in that direction, and that I was safely borne over 
the bars of a boy's irresolution into the pleasant 
harbor where the anchor of a fixed purpose was 

cast. . . . 

" I do not feel that my course needs any explanation 
or defence, but it may be useful for me to say that 
there is to me but one Church. Of this one Church 
there are many branches. The Universalist Church 
is one of these branches. The orthodox friends have 
sometimes tried to make it appear that we, as Univer- 
salists, have no part in this Church of Christ, and no 
vital union with the Lord. But this is their thinking, 
and not my opinion. I belong to the historic Chris- 
tian Church, am of it, and so also are they, if so be 
that they are one in Christ as he is one in us. So 
believing and feeling, I rejoice in any good done by 
any branch of the great Christian body ; and I also 
rejoice in any advance they make in the truth, as I be- 
lieve that truth is given us in our Lord. Hence I 
have been, especially of late years, disposed rather to 
commend what I have seen in the ministry of others 
that was benefiting our city, than condemn in their 
work what, with a different purpose, I might have 
felt myself justified in condemning. 

« As to the necessity of a clearly defined doctrinal 
basis to the success of a parish, I have a decided con- 
viction. If, as has been well said, there can be no 
doctrine without a history, there can be no church 
without a doctrine. Exactly what the limits of dog- 
matic statement shall be is as yet confessedly an 


unsettled question ; but as to certain fundamental 
doctrines, like the being of God, the doctrine of im- 
mortality, Jesus as the spiritual Messiah and the 
authorized representative of God, there can be no 
doubt among those who believe in the authority of 
revealed religion. . . . 

"That foundation, so deep and so broad, is free to 
all, and the New Testament knows no other founda- 
tion but that which is furnished us in Jesus the Lord. 
The fashion of the structure which one may erect 
upon this foundation, and the upholstering of it, are 
wisely left to the choice of the individual disciple. 

"As to my personal attitude with reference to the 
two leading divisions of religious thought, I scarcely 
need say my sympathies are with the conservative 
party. In rationalism, so-called, I have no faith, nor 
have I any confidence in its power to do good. All 
religions are useful, — all religions are more or less 
constructive and formative, and lead those who accept 
them into certain fields of usefulness and happiness ; 
but negations merely demolish, and furnish no shelter 
for those who dwell amid the ruins but the ruins 
themselves. With free religion, so-called, I have no 
sympathy whatever ; but I am, on the contrary, thor- 
oughly in accord with historic Christianity and with 
the organized Christian Church. . . . 

" Seeing that the tendency in these later years is 
strongly toward what is called free thought in religion, 
I have felt it my duty, as a Universalist and as one 
of the older pastors of the city, to do what I could 
toward checking that tendency, by pointing out the 


harmfulness of its influence upon public life and 
private morals. ... So that it has in a few instances 
very strangely come to pass that, while certain of my 
brethren of the so-called orthodox churches have 
been contending for freedom from the bondage of 
sectarian control, your minister has found himself 
seemingly upon the opposite side, pleading for con- 
sistency in doctrine and for the maintenance of church 
order. . . . 

" When I entered the ministry, now nearly forty 
years ago. I had no expectation of witnessing in my 
lifetime so remarkable a change in the belief of 
Christendom as that which has already occurred. 
And this change in popular thought is almost wholly 
in the direction of the interpretation of Scripture 
given by Universalists. I do not say that the best 
scholarship of the age unitedly endorses the doctrines 
of the Universalist Church, or that the soundness of 
all our rules of interpretation is confirmed by these 
added years of study, but I do say that the scholar- 
ship of the age leads strongly toward our biblical 
exegesis, and that the conclusions of modern study 
do not compel us to abandon a single leading doc- 
trinal position. The changes made in the text of the 
revised version have largely confirmed our under- 
standing of Scripture, and the scholarly books and 
reviews, both within and without our own church, 
which hare considered the question of eschatology 
in almost every conceivable phase, have lifted into 
prominence the theory of salvation held by the 
Universalist Church. 


" In these later years, and especially during the 
past five, 1 have had many a pleasant surprise, and 
sometimes a quiet laugh, over the ' discoveries ' in 
religious thought which some of my good brethren in 
the ministry of the straiter sects have put forth, as if 
they were stating something ' really new.' New to 
them, probably, and new to their hearers, perhaps, but 
as old to us, on our side of the theological fence, as a 
very old sermon many times preached. . . . 

" Many of you know what my feelings are with 
respect to the privilege of living in this world. Life 
has been a blessing to me, for which I am grateful, 
and I desire to have and enjoy in this world all that 
the Infinite Father may give me. I shall not pur- 
posely throw away any of the time allotted me here. 
And I say this with as strong a faith in immortality 
as any one among you. I am grateful to God for the 
happy life I have had, for the courage that has upheld 
me in all my work, and for the many friends by whose 
favor perpetual sunshine has fallen along my path. 
The choice of my youth and the companion and joy of 
all my professional experience is by God's grace 
kindly spared to me, and our mutual prayer is that 
for still many years to come we may continue our 
happy journey together. My wish is strong that we 
could roll back the wheels of time and begin anew 
the pilgrimage of life. But this cannot be ; swiftly 
we pass one mile-stone after another, and at the best 
the goal is not far distant. Still, the future has a 
cheerful look, and I can truthfully say that 1 retire 
from the active work of the ministry without com- 


plaint, and without even the most secret hostility to 
what seems to me the verdict of reason and the 
inevitable in human life. . . . 

" To those of you who have stood by my side as the 
years have gone by, and who have done not only your 
own part of the work but also much of the work that 
others ought to have done, I desire in this public 
manner to express personal obligation. The time one 
gives even to a Christian church does not always 
bring the fullest satisfaction. Many do the best they 
are able, but others are censurably neglectful, and 
yet, in anything that concerns themselves, are often 
unreasonably exacting. The patience with which 
some of you toil on, giving time, money, affection, 
almost without stint, has challenged my admiration 
and given me a courage I should not otherwise have 
had. . . . 

" Christian friends, to you is intrusted the respon- 
sibility of maintaining this church. Continue to do 
as you have done. Do not allow ever again a mort- 
gage, or 'a legal incumbrance of any kind to rest 
upon this property. Churches are expensive, and 
necessarily so. But I know no investment of money 
that gives one more satisfaction as, advancing in 
years, he looks back over his life. For of invest- 
ments of this kind he can say : ' So much of my 
property is working for good in the world.' This 
impression was emphasized in my experience while 
I was soliciting funds for the rebuilding of St. Paul's. 
I was constantly saying to myself : ' How much 
better it would have been if some of those who lost 


so heavily had placed more of their money where it 
would not burn up.' But while I say this I do not 
forget the generosity of this parish and others like it, 
nor the proverbial generosity of the business men 
of this city. I desire simply to ask you to be- 
friend those public institutions that are intended to 
strengthen the better life of the people, which give 
to them useful information to guide them in right 
living and fit them for larger usefulness in the world. 
Remember also the charitable institutions of our city, 
and be their friend and supporter. 

" I hope some one of your number will quite soon 
find it practicable to erect a plain but substantial 
building in one of the poorer districts of the city, 
which shall be the permanent home of our industrial 
school for colored girls, and the headquarters for our 
mission and charitable work. St. Paul's needs such 
a branch building, a branch Sunday-school of that 
kind, a home for the charity I have named, and 
for such added usefulness as these increased facilities 
will give. 

" I desire to place upon record in this public man- 
ner the fact that during my entire ministry in this 
city I have had a perfectly free pulpit, and have been 
absolutely unrestrained by any interference on the 
part of my parishioners in the performance of my 
professional duties. If I have not clone as well as I 
might, or always spoken the right word at the right 
time, the fault is mine, for no one has hindered me 
from doing so, nor blamed me within my hearing for 
not doino; better. 


" You know full well, clear friends, that I am 
uttering these words with deep feeling. I realize, 
as well as any of you, that this service is a signifi- 
cant one to me. I have had charge of a religious 
society every day of all the time since I entered the 
ministry, — except during my first visit to Europe, — 
and it is as natural for me to speak of ' my parish ' 
as for the mother to talk of her child. But you 
who alone are specially interested in this statement 
comprehend what my true feeling is — how strongly 
I am attached to this church and society ; how dear 
to me many of its members have become by the 
varied experiences we have shared together ; and that 
in my heart I bear no ill-will toward any man, woman, 
or child of you all. And with these simple refer- 
ences to our personal relations I dismiss this topic 
and close this sermon, preferring not further to enter 
upon that sacred ground where love and friendship 
meet to comfort and strengthen each other." 


"The Star and Covenant," then under the 
editorial charge of this biographer, said in its 
issue of April 15, 1882: — 

" Next Sunday will be the last day of Dr. Ryder's 
connection with St. Paul's Parish in Chicago ! " 

After a brief synopsis of his biography the 

account continued : — 



" During that period of his labors his ovrn parish 
has been elevated from the depressed condition in 
A Parting which he found it to a foremost posi- 
Testimonial. tion, and our church has been advanced 
to an honored station among Christian denomina- 
tions. Since then he has been the representative 
man of our church in the West, and has done work 
for our cause that has been surpassed by no man 
East or West. He has always filled the pulpit, and 
has been at the same time a faithful pastor, and an 
earnest worker in all matters affecting education, re 
form, and the public weal ; wise, judicious, kind, firm, 
a true friend, and in all respects a model minister. 

" When he shall have gone from earth, the in- 
scription on Christopher Wren's architectural mar- 
vel, may well be placed under the name of W. H. 
Ryder, on the walls of our St. Paul's: Si monumen- 
tum quceris, circumspice, — If you seek his monument, 
look around." 

[Note. — The unexpected removal of the church loca- 
tion from Michigan Avenue to Prairie Avenue modifies 
this paragraph, but it applies to the spiritual temple 
erected by him, if not to the material edifice built by 
other hands.] 


When the announcement of Dr. Ryder's re- 
tirement from the pastorate was made one 
of the well-informed editors of the religions 
press published the following item : " Rev. W. 


H. Ryder, D. D., probably the ablest Universalist 
preacher in the United States, has resigned 
a Local De- n * s P ar "i sri i n Chicago, and will with- 
scnption. draw from the ministry to study law. 
He is said to be wealthy and able to live a 
restful life if he desires. It is also said that 
his doctrinal views have undergone a change." 
The editor of the " Star and Covenant " was 
moved to say, — 

" Now, this paragraph is a tolerably well-balanced 
one, for it contains four truths, and three lies, which 
is several hundred per cent more truth than is gen- 
erally told about us, for which we ought to be grateful. 
(1) Dr. Ryder is certainly one of the ablest Univer- 
salist preachers ; (2) he has resigned ; (3) the Lord 
has blessed his pocket-book with plethora ; (4) he can 
and ought to rest. But, per contra : (1) he does not 
withdraw from the ministry; (2) he does not purpose 
to study law; (3) his doctrinal views have undergone 
no change. He occupies a happy medium, the golden 
mean between extremes, — too orthodox to be heter- 
odox, and too heterodox to be orthodox. But he is 
Universalist, genuine, pure, sincere, sixteen ounces to 
the pound, from the longest hair on the top of his 
head to the end of his longest toe, a born, dyed-in-the- 
wool Universalist." 

The inaccuracies in this reference to the sub- 
ject of this sketch remind one of the charge 
once brought against the Rev. A. C. Thomas, 


while he was yet a bachelor. A religious paper 
announced that, his wife having attended a 
revival meeting contrary to his wishes, he had 
gone into the meeting and dragged her out by 
her hair. He responded through the papers 
that the paragraph had three inaccuracies: (1) 
he had not dragged his wife from any meeting ; 
(2) he had not forbidden his wife to attend any 
meeting; (3) he had never had a wife. 


The farewell reception in the church parlors 
of St. Paul's, on the evening of April 20, 1882, 
Farewell was a noteworthy event. Superb floral 
Reception, decorations, rare music, a brilliant com- 
pany representing different religious shades and 
tints, a bountiful repast, and a spirit of frater- 
nal love never surpassed in a gathering of 
Christians of different modes of faith charac- 
terized the gathering. J. H. Swan, Esq., pre- 
sided, and addresses were intended from S. H. 
Kerr, Esq., in behalf of Lombard University; 
the Rev. W. S. Crow, to represent the Church 
of the Redeemer and our own denomination ; 
the Rev. Brooke Herford for the Unitarians ; 
the Rev. Dr. Edwards, editor of the " North- 
western Christian Advocate," for other churches, 
and a response by Dr. Ryder ; but several dis- 


tinguished clergymen of other churches, who 
were warm personal friends, having come to 
the gathering, the people insisted on hearing 
them, and a series of most fraternal speeches 
occupied the time to the delight of all. 

The Rev. Dr. Arthur Edwards, said that there 
was no minister of his own church for whom he 
had a warmer love than for the retiring pastor 
of St. Paul's, and that his work in Chicago, 
which he had closely watched for almost a 
score of years, was without a flaw. 

The Rev. Arthur Little, D. D., observed that 
when he had commented unfavorably on the 
Universalist faith, he had been met by those 
who had pointed to St. Paul's and Dr. Ryder, 
and he found his arguments silenced. 

Bishop Cheney spoke eloquently, comparing 
himself and Dr. Ryder to the Scotch thatchers 
who were at work on opposite sides of a roof, 
and who had been at enmitv, and who, havino- 
finished their task, met together at the top. 

The Rev. Brooke Herford characterized St- 
Paul's and its pastor as nearer together in faith 
and sympathy with him and his church than any- 
other of the churches represented, sometimes he 
thought a little too near, geographically. 

The Rev. Dr. Thomas expressed surprise that 
the orthodox clergymen who had spoken had 


agreed that the Universal ist tree had yielded 
the very choicest fruit, and yet they were not 
Universalists, — which he thought very uncom- 
plimentary to their own faith. He professed 
himself an advocate of eternal hope, and hoped 
that the Universalist doctrines were true. He 
stated that he had been informed on good 
authority that not a young man or woman 
in Robert Collyer's or Dr. Ryder's church had 
ever turned out badly. He hoped for the preva- 
lence of Universalist churches. 

Miss Gage read a touching poem, written by 
Mrs. Charles B. Sawyer, from which these lines 
are extracted : — 

"' For our pastor .who has served us 

Faithfully these many years, 
Who now seeks a rest from labor, 

Which we grant, although with tears — 
Over him and loved companion, 

Let tlvy choicest blessings fall ; 
Grant him health, long life, and vigor, 

Strength of earlier years recall. 

" In example, as in precept, 

He has proved a teacher true ; 
His best years of vigorous manhood 

Given with joy thy work to do. 
With a consecrated spirit, 

Sympathy for all mankind, 
He has worked with zeal unflagging, 

To church labor not confined. 


" To his parish ever faithful, 

In its joy or its distress ; 
Glad with us in scenes of gladness, 

Id our sorrow sought to bless ; 
Helping us to bear our burdens 

"When we were most sorely tried ; 
Wearied now, he needs a respite, 

Else we had his plea denied. 

" In our country's fiercest struggle, 

Filling all with dire dismay, 
Liberty with Slavery grappling 

In a final, deadly fray, 
How he helped our faith to strengthen 

In the darkest, gloomiest hour, 
That the right o'er wrong should triumph, 

Our free country show thy power. 

" When our fan - , fast-growing city 

Was consumed, as in a night, 
By the fiery flood, whose fury 

Swept it from familiar sight, 
With its garnered wealth and treasures, 

All its various business marts, 
Cherished homes of high and lowly, 

Leaving countless aching hearts, 

" Churches, homes, and business centres 

Vanished like a passing dream, 
And we thought how evanescent 

All these earthly riches seem. 
'Mid the city's smoking ruins, 

How our strength seemed paralyzed ; 
Broken hopes, and plans, and fortunes, 

All too sadly realized. 


" Ere the smoke had ceased ascending, 

Or our ruins had grown cold, 
With thy blessing, our good pastor 

Sought for aid outside our fold. 
Generous hearts and hands responded, 

And again a church we build, 
And, dear Father, with thanksgiving 

For this home our hearts are filled." 

Dr. Ryder closed the speaking with a brief 
address full of his characteristic good sense and 
Christian fervor. 

While he was much affected by the many kind 
words which had been said about him, he thought 
most of them were deserved rather by his church 
which had so nobly supported him, than by him- 
self. He had been much affected also by the 
kindly feeling which had been evinced toward 
him by the brethren of other denominations, 
and longed for the time to come when Chris- 
tians should be simply known as Christians, and 
not as members of various denominations. In 
closing he said that, although he would leave 
the city for a little while, he would return to 
spend the remainder of his life here, and in one 
of its cemeteries he hoped to be buried by St. 
Paul's Church. 



Retiring from the pulpit Dr. Ryder at once 
became an ideal layman. Regularly in Lis pew 
An ideal on Sunday, faithful in the Sunday- 
Layman. school, an attendant at the mid-week 
meeting, liberal in financial contributions, he 
became as interested and devoted as when pas- 
tor, and gave an illustration of the precepts he 
had inculcated from the pulpit, a fine example 
of the ex-pastor, who is not always an exemplary 
parishioner. But he steadily refused to officiate 
at weddings and funerals, except in cases of long 
personal intimacy, and by precept and example 
illustrated the good parishioner's loyalty and 
fidelity to the pastor. 

Not long after he left the pulpit his deter- 
mination to act always and only for the welfare 
of the church was put to the test, and his genu- 
ine devotedness to the cause he loved for its 
own sake was demonstrated. It had long been 
seen by most of St. Paul's Church that a change 
of locality was essential to the convenience of 
the majority of the parish, if not to the growth 
and prosperity of the church. The population 
of the South Division had been moving steadily 
southward, as business encroached on the old 
residential quarters, and it came to be seen that 


such a change should be made for various rea- 
sons. To Dr. Ryder, the project was most dis- 
tasteful. The Michigan Avenue Church was in 
a sense his monument. He had procured the 
funds that secured its erection, he had seen its 
majestic proportions grow, stone by stone, he 
had conducted its worship for years, and he 
had hoped that his body would be borne from 
its altar when his life-work should have ended. 
And it was, as his intimate friends knew, a 
poignant grief when the decision was reached 
to remove the site of the church from Michi- 
gan to Prairie Avenue. But when a syndicate 
had arranged terms most liberal and advan- 
tageous to effect the change, he acquiesced 
in the decision of the majority ; and though 
his assent was given sadly and reluctantly, he 
was just as earnest and devoted to the interests 
of the church as though his own choice had pre- 
vailed. His language was : '• Though against 
my judgment, I shall agree. "Where St. Paul's 
goes, I go." 

To Mr. James H. Swan he said ; " If St. 
Paul's is removed to Calumet, I shall go with 
it." And in a letter to the same when in 
Europe, dated July 19, 18SG, he wrote : — 

" Of the new chapter to be written in the history 
of St. Paul's Church I need sav but little. You know 


my general thought. Perhaps it does not fully accord 
with your own opinion. 1 attended the first meeting, 
but not the second. The second meeting I did not 
participate in because I could not do so without be- 
coming the leader of a faction, thus arraying one part 
of the parish against the other, which 1 was not 
willing to do." 

There was much in the events that occurred 
during the last months of Dr. Ryder's life that 
would have alienated a less devoted man, but he 
steadily adhered to his purpose to allow noth- 
ing to swerve him from the church to which 
lie had given the allegiance of his soul, and 
concealed his grief from all but a very few, and 
loyally continued as faithful to the interests of 
the church as though his own lead had been 

A third European voyage was made soon 
after his resignation, continuing from June, 
1882 to August, 1883. 


In 1884 Dr. Ryder gave to his native town 
the site on which stood the house in which he 
Gift to his h a d lived, and a cash contribution of 

Native Town. ^5qq_ The finegt town h a H m that 

portion of Massachusetts has been erected on 


the spot, and the handsome edifice was dedicated 
in August of 1886. The day " was one of 
the greatest in the town's history." The streets 
were thronged, the buildings were decorated 
with bunting, and all things indicated a grand 
holiday. Governor George D. Robinson and 
members of his staff, various State officials, 
members of the city government of Boston and 
Salem, and many former residents of the town 
were present. The people had passed, Feb. 9, 
1885, the following resolution unanimously, — 

" Resolved, That we, the inhabitants of Province- 
town, in town-meeting assembled, desiring to express 
our appreciation and gratitude to Rev. W. H. Ryder, 
D. D., of Chicago, for the valuable and appropriate 
gift of his late parents' homestead, for a site for a town 
hall, hereby return him our hearty acknowledgments, 
both for the proffered gift itself, and for the interest 
of the giver, thus manifested, in the welfare and 
prosperity of the place of his birth." 

The building cost about $50,000. 

In addition to the original Ryder homestead 
lot, other adjoining land was purchased, suffi- 
cient to render the town-hall lot large and com- 
modious, the entire cost of which was included 
by Dr. Ryder in his gift. 



On Sept. 21, 1884, Dr. Ryder gave the " Rus- 
sell Lecture," at Tufts College, Mass. The 

The "Russell to P ic ' b ^ tlae terms of tlie foundation, 
Lecture." j Sj « ^he Importance of Christian Faith 
and Belief in the Formation of the Character 
of the Good Citizen and the Good Man." 

The discourse is an able and a thorough treat- 
ment of the " relation of the Christian religion 
to the daily experience of mankind." He 
treated — 

" I. Of Natural Religion, — How far is the teaching 
of Natural Religion, either as related to man, or to the 
external world, intended for guidance and example ? 

" II. Of the Ancient Religions, — What do they 
teach as to life and duty ? 

" III. Of the Christian Religion, — What is peculiar 
in its moral plan and leading purposes, and wherein 
are these peculiarities especially helpful to good 
citizenship and right living ? " 

Treating of natural religion he reached the 
conclusion that it is imperfect ; of the ancient 
religions, that they were deficient in impulses to 
a true life ; and that the Christian religion pos- 
sesses peculiar merits that supplement all other 
forms: (1) in its belief in Deity; (2) in its aim 


and purpose; (3) in its teachings of the death 
of Christ ; and (4) as to the death of Christ. 

The discourse was of great length, and dis- 
played extensive research and learning, and was 
both elaborate and profound. 


Until within about a week of Dr. Ryder's 
death he appeared to be in excellent health. 
His sickness Erect in figure, robust in appearance, 
and Death. } ie seemec [ f a very rugged constitu- 
tion, and possessing unusual stamina for his 
years ; and his friends, without hesitation, would 
have prophesied for him a long lease of life. 
Promptly present in his pew at church, regular 
in attendance at the meetings of the various 
societies and institutions of which he was a 
member, active and stirring constantly, few men 
seemed better fitted or more likely to enjoy 
for many years " honor, troops of friends, and 
golden opinions from all sorts of people," even 
to the close of four-score years. 

His throat, which had frequently given him 
trouble for many years, was slightly affected on 
Sunday, February 26, when he offered the prayer 
at the opening of the new church, and on the 
28th, after an afternoon drive, a somewhat severe 


inflammation of the larynx was manifested, 
which soon, however, seemed to yield to reme- 
dies ; but on Sunday pneumonia attacked the left 
lung, and soon after involved the other. On 
Sunday prayers were offered for him at the 
church, and on Monday his recovery was prob- 
able, but from Monday night he rapidly sank. 
On Wednesday morning he was able to speak 
a few words to his friend of many years, who 
visited him daily when in the city, Mr. James H. 
Swan, but he gave no indication that he con- 
sidered his condition critical, and on Wednesday 
afternoon, at a quarter-past two, March 7, 1888, 
his spirit deserted its clay tenement. 


A private service was held at the residence, 
326 Michigan Avenue, at two o'clock on Saturday 
His Obse- afternoon, and on Sunday morning the 
quies. j^y was k orne f rom t ] ie residence to 

the church by five of his brother clergymen : 
the Revs. Dr. J. S. Cantwell, Dr. J. W. Hanson, 
Charles Conklin, C. S. Nickerson, and T. H. 
Tabor. At a quarter-past eight o'clock the 
hearse, followed by two carriages, moved up 
Michigan Avenue to Sixteenth Street. Reaching 
the church, the body was placed before the 


altar, and committed to a guard of honor, 
consisting of the following young men, most 
of whom had grown up under his influence : 
J. S. Price, W. F. Burrows, M. M. S. Marsh, 
F. N. Gage, L. C. Lawton, and H. M. Kingman. 
The scene, as the sable casket lay in the nearly 
empty church, was a most memorable one. The 
"dim, religious light" filtering through the bril- 
liantly stained windows, sprinkled rainbow hues 
on palm, lily, ivy, and beautiful flowers that 
had been brought in greatest profusion. The 
marble medallion of the departed over the inner 
entrance, executed in the year 1882, was draped 
with smilax. Soon after the arrival of the body 
in the church people began to gather, once more 
to look upon the features of the revered and 
beloved man. Gradually the church was filled, 
and at half-past ten o'clock the lid was closed, 
and as the soft strains of the organ voluntary 
fell on the ear, the widow, and the only daugh- 
ter and child "Carrie," entered the church, the 
former supported by Mr. James H. Swan, and 
the latter by the Rev. J. S. Cantwell, D. D. 
The Rev. J. C. Adams read introductory sen- 
tences of Scripture ; the Lord's Prayer was re- 
cited by the pastor and the congregation ; the 
Rev. C. S. Nickerson and the congregation united 
in a responsive Psalm ; the choir sang " Lead, 


Kindly Light ; " the Rev. Charles Couklin read 
selected Scriptures ; the Rev. J. C. Adams offered 
prayer, and the choir sang " Abide With Me." 
Four addresses were then given. 



The Rev. J. C. Adams, Dr. Ryder's successor, 
paid a feeling tribute, in the course of which he 
said : — 

" It is an inestimable privilege to have known such 
a man, to have felt his influence, and to have enjoyed 
The Rev. n ' s rica endowments. ... He was a man 

J C. Adams's who made his impression upon all who 
Remarks. . 

met him. inere were power and virtue 

going forth from him at all times. No one who ever 

knew Dr. Ryder could fail to receive an impulse 

from his positive and vigorous nature. And having 

felt it, it was not a thing one could forget. For 

myself, I grew up with a youth's admiration of this 

strong man, whom my own dear father taught me 

to count among the foremost in our church. For 

years I had learned to listen for every word he spoke 

to the church, and to weigli it as a counsel of the 

wise. I never dreamed to stand in his place, much 

less to be his pastor. With reverence for the man 

and his spirit, I can say here to-day that in all the 

close acquaintance which these later years have 

brought I have only learned a higher respect for his 

character, and for his Christian heart. Xo man ever 



was more loyal to his pastor, no one ever strove with 
more singleness of conscience to fulfil the duties 
of a trying position. Would that he had still been 
spared to grow old in an ever-ripening wisdom, our 
trusted friend and counsellor. 

"His bodily presence is gone. His life with us is 
over. But the memory of his work, the influence of 
his spirit, the power of his soul, these are with us 
forever, the blessed legacy of a Christian's life." 


The Rev. J. S. Cantwell, D. D., said : — 

" A prince in our Israel has indeed fallen. The 
mourners are not alone with us here, nor in this great 
r> -r> t e citv, but wherever our church is known, — 

Kev. Dr. J. !>. ' 

Cantwell's from the remotest point in the East to the 

Address. ,. . . .. . ,, _. , . 

most distant city in the West, from the 
ocean-washed shores of his native Massachusetts to 
the churches on the Pacific slope, and all along the 
pathways of the West where our believers congregate, 
in country and city alike, — there is sorrow to-day that 
Dr. Ryder is no more. He was the most widely 
known of all our pastors in the W r cst and was as 
widely esteemed and honored for faithful service. . . . 
"We think of Dr. Ryder to-day, as the friend and 
the helper of this people, the wise counsellor, the saga- 
cious leader, the eloquent and impressive preacher, 
the earnest defender of his faith, the busy citizen, and 
friend of eood causes. . . . 


" Can we ever forget that last solemn and pathetic 
prayer, here in this new place, where the great soul 
rose in communion with its Maker, and he chose that 
same image of the sea and the voyager to describe 
the condition of this uncertain life ? — a prayer that 
seems now prophetic of his own death and the voyage ; 
in which holy memories of the dead of St. Paul's 
Church were made so distinct that some could almost 
feel the rustling of unseen wings. That prayer was 
breathed out of a rich and ripe religious experience, 
and told of a communion of his soul with God, and 
the childlike dependence in faith on the word of the 
Father. It was the last service of a Christian's 
ministry, — a fitting and beautiful ending of Dr. 
Ryder's noble career. He bore our hearts for- 
ward to God in that hour, in the pastor's farewell 
benediction. . . . 

" It was Dr. Ryder's chief distinction in the min- 
istry to embody in himself the ideal Christian pastor. 
How faithful he was in that relation is one of the 
sacred memories of the hour. To you these memories 
will always remain sacred. He constantly held before 
you 'life, duty and destiny, the cross of Christ, the 
person of Christ, the church of Christ,' in the re- 
flected light of his own experience. He had tested 
them and knew their value and power. He seals 
these lessons now with his death." 



The Rev. J. W. Hanson, D. D., said : — 

" A too truthful axiom declares, ' Few men are 

heroes to their valets.' Most men look larger, their 

reputations loftier, and they more worthy, 

j. \v. Han- seen through the perspective of distance, 
sou's Re- ]3 U £ ti iere are men AT ] 10 are l ovec i m0 st bv 


those who know them best. Such a man 
was William Henry Ryder. It has been my privilege 
to be closely associated with him, not only in the 
delightful intimacies of our happy homes, — both now, 
alas, shattered ! — but in his abundant labors in be- 
half of our church in many parts of the Northwest, 
where we have wrought so much and so long together, 
and in the extraordinary experiences of the great 
fire, and the trying scenes that followed, connected 
with our publishing interests, and in many business 
and ecclesiastical complications of the most perplexing 
nature, such as tested all the resources of disposition 
and character. It is but simple justice to say that 
every test of motive and purpose, of principle and 
conduct, was borne without strain, that I have found 
him endowed with a judgment well nigh infallible, a 
tact that utilized at its best everything favorable and 
adverse with consummate skill, and ever accompanied 
by the soul of equity. Uprightness, exact justice, 
always seemed to be the prime impulse of his life, a 
purpose never to allow friendship to swerve or pre- 


judice to warp opinions or conduct. But joined to 
this tendency were the tenderest sympathies that 
softened and melted what without them might have 
created an unloving austerity ; and this combination 
made him the trustworthy friend and counsellor, the 
model pastor, whose presence in the home of sorrow 
was a benediction, and whose genial sunshine gave an 
added light and joy to any happy gathering. What 
home ever visited by him was not made better and 
richer by his inspiring and uplifting presence ? And 
these qualities joined to his rare oratorical gifts made 
him almost peerless on the platform and in the pulpit. 
Who that has heard him can ever forget the tones of 
that magnificent voice, whose organ melody in prayer 
seemed to be echoed in heaven, and whose utterances 
when proclaiming the truths of religion, and enforcing 
the claims of duty, or when it was pouring the balm of 
consolation into wounded hearts, made those who heard 
it better ? Who that ever saw him in some great audi- 
ence, inspired by theme and occasion, an incarnation 
of Christian love and truth, was not lifted into higher 
realms ? In the ratio that he impressed others with the 
presence of a truly religious man, a Christian gentle- 
man, — by as much as he was a mighty factor for good, 
and blessed the community, and won the love and ad- 
miration of others, it was because of his greater 
fidelity to his faith than others, his fuller appreciation 
of its transcendent worth, his deeper insight into it, 
his utter surrender to its sway, his unfaltering illus- 
tration of its principles on his heart and life, his mind 
and character, because he more than most was able 


to incarnate the very soul and spirit of his religion, 
and present it nearly unrefracted to the world. . . . 

" As 1 carefully scan his life, after forty-four years 
of personal acquaintance, 1 thank God that I can see 
in the noble career that has now ended on earth an 
unvarying and distinguished success in every pastoral 
relation, notably in St. Paul's, Chicago ; inestimable 
services to his church East, West, and midst ; brilliant 
and abundant labors for his country during her per- 
ilous years in her struggle for existence; rich con- 
tributions in educational, charitable, moral, and 
reformatory movements, and in all that pertains to 
the welfare of the city in which he dwelt for almost 
a generation, one of its most useful, honored, and dis- 
tinguished citizens; business qualifications that gave 
him high rank in a community crowded with citizens 
eminent in civic pursuits ; great abilities in many- 
directions where equal success in one sphere is un- 
common ; and above all the consecration of his large 
genius to the welfare of mankind, making all else 
subservient to good ends ; subordinating all to the 
moral and religious ; a spotless example, a name un- 
blemished, and honorable in every sphere he entered. 
These render his memory precious to his family, his 
church, the community, and record his name in the 
archives of the city, the church, the country, as 
one of those that will be held in long and loving 
remembrance. . . ." 



Mr. J. H. Swan said : — 

"... I knew him first in 1860, but it was not until 
seven years later, when I became a member of this 
.Mr J H P arisn 3 that I knew him intimately. From 
Swan's Re- that time on our friendship never ceased, 
and 1 rejoice to proclaim that his death did 
not part us forever. Through those twenty years I 
have grown nearer and closer to him day by day. 
He was, perhaps, not a man into whose heart every- 
body could readily enter, but those who did, loved him 
dearly, and with a love which will brook no parting. 
1 found him the grand man, the loving brother, into 
whose ear I could speak the word of confidence with- 
out fear, whose advice 1 could follow without hesita- 
tion. I do not need to speak to you of what he was 
as a minister, but to-day, as the sun shines out 
brightly, as if the Lord would glorify even his tem- 
porary parting from us, there comes to me the experi- 
ence of those Lenten days when he worked harder, 
prayed more, and carried a greater burden than any 
of us. Think of those days ! How glad his heart 
was when one and the other and the next — when we 
all came to subscribe ourselves to the Lord." 

At the close of Mr. Swan's pathetic address, 
the Rev. T. H. Tabor offered the closing prayer. 
The choir responded with the anthem, " Forever 
with the Lord." The benediction was pro- 


nounced by the Rev. Mr. Adams. The body 
was then committed to the care of the pall- 
bearers, Eclson Keith, C. B. Sawyer, Gen. M. 
R. M. Wallace, Charles L. Hutchinson, J. K. 
Murphy, and I. N. Daggett, and borne to 
the hearse, after which the procession formed 
for Graceland. At the cemetery a brief service 
of committal was read by the Rev. Mr. Adams, 
and the body placed temporarily in the lot of 
Elbridge G. Hall, an old parishioner and friend 
of the deceased pastor. 


On October 17 following the funeral the re- 
mains were removed to Oakwoocls cemetery 
Removal of where they now repose. A massive 
Remains, monument occupies the centre of the 

Monument, L 

etc - lot, the base of Quincy granite, and 

the superstructure of Westerly granite. The 
monument is one of rare simplicity and beauty, 
its unassuming grandeur symbolic of the char- 
acter it commemorates. The frieze is from the 
Scipio Barbatus monument in the Vatican, and 
the monograms are from memorials to the 
dead in the Roman catacombs, and all suggest 
the staple of his preaching and his supreme 


thought, — Christ. On the east front is the 
monogram I. H. S. ( lf$ ), Iesus Hominum Sal- 
vator, " Jesus Saviour of Men." Beneath is the 
inscription, " I am the resurrection and the 
life ; he that believeth in me, though he were 
dead, yet shall he live." Below this is "Rev. 
William H. Ryder, D. D.," surmounted by a 
large and beautiful bronze palm-branch. On 
the north side is the monogram of the Greek 
letters A and 12 ( ffi ), alpha and omega. On 
the west the monogram of I. H. C. ( ij& ), Iesus 
Hominum Consolator, " Jesus Comforter of 
Men." On the south the Greek letters X and 
P, ( w ), chi and rho, woven together, the first 
two letters of the Greek for " Christ." Before 
the east front are the two graves of Dr. and 
Mrs. Ryder, and on the west side the grave of 
Mr. Morrill. The monument is one of the most 
impressive in Oakwoods, and was furnished by 
the New England Monument Company. Stand- 
ing before this memorial of the man, and re- 
membering what he was, those who loved and 
honored him can but say : — 

" Nothing is here for tears, — nothing to wail, 
Or knock the breast ; no weakness, no contempt, 
Dispraise or blame, nothing but well and fair, 
And what may quiet us in a death so noble." 


It was Mrs. Ryder's earnest wish that her 
daughter should be present at the re-interment 
and actually see and identify the features of 
the dead. Accordingly, accompanied by Mr. 
James H. Swan, Mrs. Morrill saw the lid of the 
casket lifted, and once more gazed on the face 
of her beloved father, which after more than 
seven months was unchanged. The ordeal was 
an exacting one, but the mother's desire nerved 
the daughter's heart, and enabled her to pass 
through the trying experience. 


When the contents of Dr. Ryder's will were 
revealed even his most intimate friends were 
ins Last astonished, not only at the amount of 

Will and 

Testament, property possessed, but at the directions 
in which it was bestowed. No one had suspected 
the character of the will. It was in his own 
legible chirography, and so far as is known, 
had been matured and perfected by himself 
without hint or suggestion from any one else. 
It made the most liberal and ample provision 
for his family, bestowed bequests on a few per- 
sonal friends, and gave in charity to the church 
he loved, and deserving benevolent institutions 
more than a quarter of a million of dollars. 


1. Real estate and personal property and money to 
his widow to a large amount. 

2. To the daughter the reversion of the above, and 
ten thousand dollars additional, amounting in all to a 
great fortune, to be hers absolutely, but in case she 
should die intestate, or childless, to the Chicago 
Public Library. 

3. To the only grandchild born at the time the will 
was written, ten thousand dollars, to be kept in trust 
for her till she should attain the age of twenty, or in 
case of her death before twenty, or childless, to revert 
to the Chicago Hospital for women and children, to 
endow two children's beds perpetually, in her name, 
Ryderia Morrill. 

4. Five thousand dollars in trust to a sister of 
Mrs. Ryder, Mrs. Joan R. Cook, of Boston. 

5. Five thousand dollars to the Provincetown 
(Mass.) Universalist society, the income to be de- 
voted to the necessities of the worthy poor of that 

6 One thousand dollars to the Rev. J. P. Weston, 
D. D., as an expression of personal esteem, and 
appreciation of his valuable services as president of 
Lombard University. 

7. One thousand dollars to the Rev. Nathan R. 
Wright, in remembrance of kindness when the giver 
was a student in New Hampshire, and in memory of 
a son of the donee named for him, who gave his life 
for his country. 

8. Ten thousand dollars to St. Paul's Church, 
Chicago, in trust. 


The income of this fund is, by vote of the 
society, appropriated to sustain missionary effort 
in the parish, in the form of a pastor's assistant, 
or parish helper, who devotes her entire time to 
the details of parish work. 

9. Twenty thousand dollars to Lombard Univer- 
sity for the purpose of " aiding needy and worthy 
students of said university, preference to be given to 
theological students." 

10. Ten thousand dollars to the State Convention 
of Univcrsalists of Illinois, " for the support and re- 
lief of superannuated Universalist clergymen, and for 
the needy and destitute widows of Universalist clergy- 
men, who at the time of their death may reside in 
the State of Illinois." 

11. Ten thousand dollars to the Old People's 
Home, Chicago. 

12. Ten thousand dollars to the Chicago Hospital 
for Women and Children, the income to be employed 
in supporting free beds in perpetuity, to be forever 
known as supported by Caroline Frances Ryder. 

13. Ten thousand dollars to a Board of Trust 
consisting of the pastors of St. Paul's, the First Pres- 
byterian, and the First Congregational churches, the 
mayor of the city, and the superintendent of public 
schools, the income to be devoted to sustaining the 
delivery, publication, and circulation of annual free 
lectures in aid of the moral and social welfare of the 
citizens of Chicago, on an anti-sectarian basis. 

14. Ten thousand dollars to the Chicago Public 


15. Twenty-five thousand dollars to the Univer- 
salist General Convention " for the education of 
young persons for the ministry of the Universalist 

16. The residue of the estate to the following re- 
siduary legatees : The Universalist Publishing House, 
Boston, Mass. ; Tufts College Divinity School, Mass. ; 
St. Lawrence University Divinity School, Canton, New 
York ; Lombard University Divinity School, since 
named Ryder Divinity School, Galesburg, 111.; Buchtel 
College, Akron, Ohio, — in equal shares. 

The five residuary legatees received under the 
sixteenth clause of the will, 832,356.68 each, in all 
$161,783.40. Add direct bequests as above, $70,000 ; 
grand total, $231,783.40. 

The executors named are James H. Swan, Edwin 
F. Bayley, and Caroline Ryder Morrill. The will was 
executed April 13, 1886. 

This will, explained by memoranda found 
among Dr. Ryder's papers, but not incorporated 
in the will, as he evidently intended, is one of 
the best ever recorded. An ample competence 
is given to widow, daughter, and grandchildren, 
and splendid endowments to colleges and relig- 
ious and charitable bodies. Active and benefi- 
cent as was his life, he will be a far more potent 
factor in human affairs in the long generations 
to come. " Being dead he yet speaketh" through 
others, and by the influence of a divine mort- 


main his dead hand will mould opinion and 
shape thought and bless human lives centuries 
after the living hand that recorded his generous 
intentions shall have dissolved into its kindred 
dust. He more than fulfilled the only intima- 
tion he was ever heard to give of his great pur- 
pose, uttered on a certain occasion not long 
before his death, when told that he had been criti- 
cised for lack of generosity in contributing to a 
certain object : " My time to speak will come." 
Even then he had matured his grand plans, and 
placed them on record, to consecrate a large 
part of his fortune to those religious and chari- 
table objects which he helped and aided in life. 


Certainly, these magnificent benefactions place 
the name of Ryder at the head of our church 
His Noble muster-roll bearing the honored names 

Example. Q | p ACKARD? GODDARD, DeAN, HAR- 

sen, Gunn, Miner, Throop, and BucnTEL ; 
and in our halls of learning, in our literature, 
in our church at large, as well as in the indi- 
vidual churches he endowed, his presence will 
walk and live in the ages to come, a thousand- 
fold more influential than would be possible to 
any man while living. 


When told of unfavorable criticisms by those 
who vainly solicited his subscriptions, they pro- 
duced no effect on his conduct. He was evolving 
a plan that he knew would vindicate him, and 
that would, when completed, fully justify what- 
ever refusals he had made. He reminds us of 
the man of whom we have read, who dwelt in 
a region annually devastated by the plague. 
Prospered in material wealth he grew rich from 
year to year, and though besought to bestow his 
money on those made poor and needy by the 
annual epidemic, he would not respond with 
gifts that his neighbors thought commensurate 
with his possessions, and they were lavish with 
their censures. But they failed to move him. 
After he had died, however, his will stated that 
he had discovered that the sickness that had 
created so much poverty and distress was caused 
by the water that the people drank, and for that 
reason he had toiled and saved until he had 
amassed a fortune, that he might bequeath it to 
the devastated community for the purpose of 
constructing an aqueduct to a lake miles away, 
which should furnish the people with an inex- 
haustible supply of pure water, and thus render 
the destructive disease forever impossible. 

Looking back upon the later years of Dr. 
Kyder's life, say the last five or six, from the 


time when lie resigned his pastoral charge, in 
1882, we cannot help wishing that we might 
have had the satisfaction of looking into his 
mind while he was maturing the purpose of his 
life. His fortune had attained more ample di- 
mensions than he had ever imagined possible. 
He had perfected the document that should 
delight all who loved him. And as he went 
about among men, his mind dwelling upon the 
noble provisions he had made to benefit the in- 
stitutions whose welfare he desired, and the 
wealth he had bequeathed to his family, what 
heavenly satisfaction must have filled his soul. 
While he was supposed to be considering ways 
and means to further his financial schemes and 
increase his wealth, his real purpose and con- 
tinual thought were to make that wealth useful 
to the world after he should have left it. What 
an example to the prosperous! What a model 
by which men of wealth should shape their 
conduct ! What a rich harvest of satisfaction 
he must have reaped daily, as he realized the 
grand surprise he was preparing, and the bene- 
factions he would at no distant clay bestow 
upon the world ! With what reverence would 
he have been greeted — even beyond the respect 
he inspired — as he was met in the public mart, 
could his purposes have been detected, and what 


veneration should inspire the hearts of those 
who loved him. now that the impulses that 
impelled him are known, and the noble uses 
to which he consecrated his large possessions 
are remembered. In one sense his life seems 
all too short ; but " measured by deeds and not 
by figures on a dial" his life was long, indeed. 

" He liveth long who liveth well ; 
All else is life but flung away." 


From Dr. Ryder's earliest youth he had 
evinced a genius for financial operations, and as 
His Financial tne years went on he achieved such 
Genms. business successes as proved that had 
he devoted his abilities to secular matters his 
name would have been among the most promi- 
nent in the realm of affairs. 

Beginning with a moderate sum, the gift of 
his father, he was able to own the house he 
occupied in Roxbury, and dispose of it advan- 
tageously on leaving that city, so that he went 
to Chicago with a small property. In May, 
18G6, the parish in Chicago purchased a lot and 
house as a parsonage. The edifice was not en- 
tirely completed when the people gave him the 
house and lot outright. He finished the edifice 



to his mind and resided in it until the great fire 
of 1871, when it was destroyed. Meanwhile 
the property had risen so enormously in value 
that immediately after the fire he was offered 
£1.000 a front foot for the land alone, or 
£50,000. In addition to this, whenever he had 
any savings, they were carefully invested, usually 
with great prudence, so that he was a rich man, 
even after the fire, though that great disaster 
had shrunk his estate $50,000. One of his for- 
tunate investments was in the West Division 
horse railway, which he had disposed of at 
nearly six times its cost to him. 

He always practised habits of strict economy, 
though his home was one of great comfort and 
elegance, and yet modest and unostentatious, as 
were himself and family, at home and abroad. 
But the wonder always was that his financial 
operations never engrossed his time and atten- 
tion, nor dissipated his mind to the detriment of 
his profession, or of his mental and spiritual 
nature. He was not at all secularized, or in the 
least made " worldly " by his business compli- 
cations. The Apocryphal writer inquires : 
" How can he get wisdom whose talk is of bul- 
locks?" Usually men cannot toil successfully 
in religious directions when solving laro;e finan- 
cial problems. But he possessed the rare faculty 


of making instant decision in reference to a 
business transaction, and then dismissing it 
from the mind. And his best friends among 
the clergy and laity never suspected the wide 
range of his dealings, or their remarkable suc- 
cess. After thirty years, twenty-five of which 
seemed exclusively engrossed in the studies and 
duties of the clerical profession, the net results 
of what was merely a side pursuit, a recreation, 
was the enormous sum of more than half a 
million dollars, exclusive of debt. Only financial 
genius of a high order could accomplish such a 

At his death he was not only the richest Uni- 
versalist minister in the world, but one of the 
greatest and best in all the traits that make up 
the unworldly preacher, minister, and pastor. 
He gave a demonstration, were one needed, that 
'•a rich man" can "enter" and dwell a in the 
kingdom of God." 

To love money for its own sake is a sin ; 
but to love money and enthusiastically accum- 
ulate it, with the design of bestowing it to 
add to the world's good is a laudable pursuit. 
Dr. Ryder was in a lofty sense a money- 
lover. He placed a high value on property. 
He was as careful in his expenditures as he 
was in his efforts at accumulation. Many a 


man far less conscientious than he regarded 
him as parsimonious ; but " the end sanctified 
the means." His motives were scrupulously 
honorable ; his measures as exact in acquiring 
as they were wise and considerate in expending. 
He would have agreed with Ruskin, who some- 
where characterizes the words ■■'money-making" 
as a poor and inaccurate way of describing 
a pursuit which, if followed from lofty and 
worthy motives, is of the most exalted char- 
acter. Money, he substantially says, represents 
the comforts of home, the education of chil- 
dren, the adornment of wife, art, religion, and 
all the noble things of life. It is an instinct 
of man to " lay up," in the vigorous and pic- 
turesque Saxon phrase, and when this is done 
for a high and noble purpose, every dollar re- 
tained is an accumulation in the treasury 
of heaven. Merely to "make money" for 
money's sake, or for selfish ends, is in man 
no hio;her than the animal instinct that hoards 
for future use ; but when the ambition to make 
money has the ulterior purpose of conferring 
blessings on mankind, it is exalted, divine. It 
is the object that ennobles the pursuit. 

" When acted for thy sake 
Even servile labors shine." 


Love of money is ' ; the root of all the 
evils " when money is a sordid idol, worshipped 
for its own sake, and as a material good ; but 
when it impels and incites the faculties to secure 
the fruits of acquisition that they may be used 
to strengthen institutions of learning, re-enforce 
instrumentalities of benevolence, enlarge the 
boundaries and increase the energies of the 
agencies that seek human happiness, it has the 
approbation of God. But for the passion of 
money-making Amos Lawrence, George Pea- 
body, and multitudes of the world's benefactors 
never could have established the sources of good 
they reared. But for the love of money in 
Dr. Ryder's nature, he never could have been 
the power he will continue to be in the remote 

With the ulterior purpose of devoting his 
money to the service of mankind, it may truth- 
fully be said that the treasures he laid up on 
earth had their correspondence in the richer 
treasures laid up in heaven. His earthly bank 
account but faintly foreshadowed his credit 
balance in the exchequer of the skies. 



After Dr. Ryder's death Mrs. Ryder gave his 
valuable library to Tufts College, and the Rev. 

E. H. Capen, D. D., and the Hon. 

Charles Whittier went to Chicago to 
attend to the transmission of the books to Col- 
lege Hill. There were sixteen hundred volumes 
and many pamphlets. President Capen assures 
me that the books are of a very high average, 
and that they have evidently been well read by 
their owner. They are now in an eligible place 
in the library of Tufts College. An excellent 
portrait of Dr. Ryder, also the gift of his widow, 
is in the near vicinity of his beloved books. 


Dr. Ryder's remarkable combination of qual- 
ities would have gravitated him easily to the 
Dr Ryder's front rauk °* anv calling he might 
versatility. k ave chosen. In the law he would 
have been an ideal judge; in mercantile life a 
merchant prince ; in the Catholic or the Episco- 
pal Church a model bishop. He was a natural 
leader of men, and choosing the pulpit of a 
humble sect he became, without extraneous 
advantages, a more powerful force in society, 


and a more successful man than was one in a 
thousand of those who possessed those advan- 
tages, and achieved those positions. 


By the appointment of the Trustees of the 
General Convention of Universalists, a memo- 
rial service was held in St. Paul's 
Convention Church, Chicago, on Tuesday evening, 
service!" 1 October 23 > 1888 > the evening before 
the organization of the convention. 
The beautiful auditorium was exquisitely deco- 
rated with autumnal flowers, and a large audi- 
ence, including thirty-five of the clergymen of 
our church, filled the room. The pastor, the 
Rev. J. C. Adams conducted the service, and 
introduced the speakers. The Rev. Alexander 
Kent, of Washington, D. C, offered prayer, and 
made a brief introductory address. The Rev. I. 
M. Atwood, D. D., of Canton, N. Y. ; the Rev. 
G. L. Demarest, D, D,, of Manchester, N. H. ; 
the Rev. Arthur Edwards, D. D., of Chicago, 
( Methodist ) ; and the Rev. H. W. Thomas, 
D. D., of Chicago, gave addresses, by invitation 
and appointment. Dr. Demarest's was very 
brief, and was not reported. Extracts from the 
other addresses here follow : — 



The Rev. Arthur Edwards, D. D. ( Methodist), 

said : — 

" . . . When such a leader falls bereavement thrills 
all along the lines of the host arrayed in defence of 
AJ , , the truth. When the waving plumes of 

Address of ° * 

Arthur Ed- Dr. Ryder went down in battle all good 

wards, D. D. , , . i 1 n l 

men wondered just now and when God 
could and would fill that yawning vacancy, 1 am free 
to say that your brother and mine filled a larger space 
in the public eye than perhaps any other minister in 
Chicago. That prominence is one measure of our loss. 
Was the prominence deserved? 1 reply 'Yes,' and 
suggest some reasons why. 1. He had been here al- 
most longer than any other minister. ... 2. He had 
a leader's physique. • • . 3. He knew how to obey the 
trend of his own orders. All generalship includes 
the grace of this loyalty to a selected line of action. 
... 4. Dr. Ryder magnified his leadership chiefly 
in behalf of his cause. The strut and regalia and 
prominence and circumstance of headship were all sub- 
ordinated to the end for which he aimed. 1 believe; 
that leadership tempered and humbled him, and that 
he was solemnized by the responsibility thrust upon 
him. I believe that this accounts for the " iron " in 
his leadership. He led in behalf of his cause, and 
not of his leadership. ... 5. Having a loyal con- 
science, he loved him who honestly obeyed an inner 
light. Hating shams, he wasted little time on those 


who mistook bile for conscience, or substituted obe- 
dience to social dilettanteism for honest loyalty to 
truth. Dr. Ryder was in spirit a providential pro- 
gressive. ... 1 believe that I knew Dr. Ryder very 
well, and whatever varying definitions appeared best 
to us, I always felt sure that he was as true a soul as 
ever tried to lift Chicago towards the skies. ... 6. 
Being a leader, firm, tolerant and true, he was also 
tender. I have seen his eye flash, and I have seen it 
dampen. When the battle was past he hastened to 
unbuckle his armor that he might hug a child. His 
record suggests heart and humanity. ... 7. Dr. 
Ryder's service to the world and his church was that 
of a constructive and not a destructive critic. His 
work was synthetic, and not merely analytic. If he 
tore down things about you, it was that he might re- 
build in beauty and renewed strength. His voice was 
not an everlasting ' No ! ' . . . Even those who may 
not accept some of Dr. Ryder's conclusions may, 
however, be sure that he never opposed any system 
unless he honestly believed that he had a better to 
set up in its place. As such, I accept him as one of 
God's builders, who followed that which he thought 
to be according to the heavenly image. ... 8. Dr. 
Ryder practised that which he preached. He taught 
charity and he practised it. I regard his will, made 
public and thus made a topic for this allusion, as one 
of the most useful hints to the rich men of our gen- 
eration. . . . Happy the church which honors such a 
conquering servant, — but happier that church when 
it makes ready its vessels to receive and contain the 


blessings thus invoked by the departing prophet. 
May those vessels be full, and to overflowing!" 


"... The hierarchical idea of the clergy must give 
place to the fraternal. Such was the conception of 

Dr. Ryder; and it was from this stand- 
of h"w. point that his position and influence as a 
Thomas, man, as a citizen," as a husband and father 

was so highly esteemed and honored by 
the city in which he lived and preached so long. The 
fact that he did not claim to be better than nature 
and the God of nature intended him to be, — that is, 
too holy to marry, and lift up the altars of home, ex- 
plains the fact that he could and did so conscien- 
tiously and nobly exemplify and honor that sacred re- 
lation. And from this fraternal and common-sense 
view of the life and work of a minister, without tak- 
ing him from his pulpit and pastoral labors, he gave 
such attention to business matters as enabled him to 
make and save a large property. And he had the 
rare good sense and piety to bequeath that property 
to help the church and the cause to which he gave his 
working years. And not only did this clergyman 
touch the business side of affairs, but naturally 
enough his influence was felt in the formative life 
of our city ; and he was the friend, the adviser, the 
working and giving helper of its great charitable and 
industrial and educational interests. In these prac- 
tical affairs, Chicago has had no more worthy example 


of a useful man and citizen. Aside from them Dr. 
Ryder would have stood high as a preacher, but his 
standing and influence in his special work were 
helped rather than hindered because of these other 
forces of usefulness. . . . We must think that Dr. 
Ryder's theology had not a little to do with his clear, 
strong, and perfect life ; at least it corresponded 
wonderfully well with it. Not believing in a per- 
sonal devil he did not lay his sins to Satan but to 
himself ; and not believing in a penal or substitutional 
atonement, he did not put the guilt and penalty upon 
Jesus, nor hope to escape by taking the benefit of any 
moral insolvency act called the ' Atonement,' or the 
' mysterious plan of salvation ; ' but instead of this 
he believed in personal responsibility and character; 
that character is salvation, and that it is the only sal- 
vation. Herein he built up for himself a noble 
manhood, strong and positive, and yet gentle and 
tender and loving ; and as age came on these milder 
qualities adorned with a diviner beauty the rugged 
outlines of strength." 


"... To-night, as I look out upon this group, I miss 

a noble and benignant presence ; and I feel keenly as I 

stand here — as I have often felt in the 


of I. M. At- recent past — that my world can never 

' ' ' be again just what it was before Heaven 

claimed William Henry Ryder. Passing from this 

personal word, which I am sure needs no apology and 


. . . speaking for our clergy in this behalf, my com- 
prehensive description of what Dr. Ryder did for us 
would be : he honored the ministry of our church. 
He did other and praiseworthy things : but it seems 
to fall to me to say ... he did this : and in two 
ways : first, by bringing to the ministry of the Uni- 
versalist church, ability, energy, and the power of 
commanding leadership. A keen critic, himself a 
minister, has said that our profession, in every branch 
of it, is comprised in two classes, — the men whom 
the profession of the ministry sustains, and the men 
who sustain the profession. Dr. Ryder was not one 
of those who take passage on a great profession and 
who are borne on and held up by the force of its 
great history, its great traditions and its great pos- 
ition before the world. . . . The ministry of our 
church is forever a nobler ministry, more interest- 
ing, more attractive, fitter to win the admiration and 
enlist the service of intelligent and ingenuous youth, 
because he was in it. I ought to remind you, breth- 
ren, that Dr. Ryder taught all of us a lesson which 
some of us even yet need to learn, namely this : that 
a man may be most loyal to his own church, may be- 
lieve in it with his whole heart, may give to it all the 
energy that he possesses, and yet may be so large, so 
genuinely liberal, so truly Christian, that he compels 
the respect and commands the regard and secures the 
affection of all genuinely Christian people in all other 
churches. He taught us, too, that a man may con- 
ciliate the regard of other churches without surren- 
dering an article or a particle of his own sturdy and 


steadfast creed. I think we may say, with his ex- 
ample before us, that one wins the favor of those be- 
yond his own communion by the graces and fidelity 
he exhibits in his own communion. ... It is a joy to 
me to think that this man, who did successfully what 
some of us have undertaken to do and failed in ac- 
complishing — who lent a portion of his genius to the 
concerns of secular affairs — was able to keep him- 
self through it all devoted to his original calling, the 
one to which he gave his whole heart in the beginning 
and his whole heart to the end. As a wise man of 
affairs he was successful, but though I met him often, 
and had many letters from him, I cannot remember 
the time when Dr. Ryder intruded upon me any mat- 
ter of business. It was the church, it was religion, 
it was the ministry to which he gave his whole power 
and his undivided heart. These occupied him first and 
last and always. And being dead he yet speaketh." 

The foregoing paragraphs are but brief ex- 
tracts from addresses of remarkable power. 


A volume might be filled with tributes from 
all sorts and conditions of people, giving the 
Testimonials g°°d impression produced on their 
and Tributes. i iear t s anc i ][y es by the extraordinary 

personality of this grand man. A virtue ex- 
haled from his presence that touched almost any 


nature to finer issues. A few only of the printed 
expressions can be given here. 

The various business organizations and chari- 
table, religious, educational, and other associa- 
tions with which he was connected passed 
resolutions and recorded declarations of confi- 
dence in his business ability and character, and 
sorrow at his death. A few tributes from those 
who heard or knew him will serve to convey to 
the reader the impression he made. Says the 
Rev. Joseph Wilson, of Kansas : — 

" I never met him but once, but I could not help 
thinking he was the grandest man I ever saw or heard 
in the sacred desk." 

The Rev. Stephen Hull of Missouri : — 

" Dr. Ryder was my ideal preacher. Never could T 
think of him, or mention his name, but with emotions 
of admiration and personal affection." . . . 

The Rev. Edgar Leavitt, of California : — 

"In doctrine and spirit he has come as near my 
ideal of what the Universalist minister should be as 
any whom I have known. That rich, magnificent 
voice of his, — -who can forget its moving, earnest, sin- 
cere tones, thrilling the soul as the trumpet-blast stirs 
the blood of the charger for the battle, in the strong, 
impassioned periods of his oratory, or drew tears, and 
made the heart swell with pathos and tenderness ? 


Yet with all his grandeur as an orator, his wealth, his 
prominent position, he was one of the kindest of men, 
and many a young minister will long remember with 
gratitude what he has received from this prince of the 

When the Rev. J. G. Adams, D.D., published 
his ''Fifty Notable Years," he intended to pre- 
sent the biographies of deceased ministers only ; 
but he made four exceptions, one of which was 
Dr. Ryder. After giving the leading data of 
his life, he said : — 

"His influence as a preacher, a partor, a man of 
business has been widely felt in the city (Chicago), 
and as a preacher of the doctrine of Universal Recon- 
ciliation and a representative of the Universalist 
Church, his influence has been most salutary and 
honorable. His discriminating mind, his firm will, 
his patience and steadiness of action, have wrought 
an effectual work in building up the cause of Univcr- 
salism throughout the West." 

The Rev. G. H. Emerson, D. D., editor of the 
" Christian Leader " gives this tribute : — 

" By consecration, ability, eloquence, and position, 
Dr. Ryder has been a leader in the Universalist 
Church of America for a quarter of a century ; and 
in the Great West — the immediate sphere of his in- 
dustry — he has been conspicuously at the front. In 
the great city of the Northwest his pastorate rescued 


the principal Universalist parish of that vast region 
from popular disfavor and elevated it into a church 
which compelled profound respect on the part of the 
entire community. . . . 

" On the fame of our brother suspicion never 
breathed. On his reputation there never was even 
a speck. His soul was white as the mountain snows. 
Faithful, devout, Christian in the tone not less than in 
the word, and in all things pure, he leaves a record 
whereof all the brethren are justly proud." 

Professor David Swing- ; — 

" His thirty years of service were marked by an ac- 
tive patriotism in the time of need, by an active ser- 
vice of benevolent associations, and in broadening and 
sweetening the relations of Christians to the world and 
to each other. . . . He began his ministry in a time 
when the war between orthodox and heterodox was 
still being violently waged. He came with a character 
and method which helped persuade the warring sects 
to send out at least a flag of truce. . . . William II. 
Ryder performed a noble part." 


At the announcement of his death the faculty 
and students of Lombard University made the 
following record : — 

" Whereas it has pleased the great Dispenser of 
life to remove by death Rev. William H. Ryder, D. D., 


therefore be it resolved by the faculty and students 
here assembled, that Lombard University has lost 
rn ., . , a constant, faithful, and untiring friend, 

Tribute of ' ' ° ' 

Lombard one whose influence and wise counsels 
' ' have contributed largely in laying the 
corner stone of her prosperity. 

" Resolved, That we deplore his loss the more be- 
cause this institution has lost a life-long benefactor, 
the church to which he belonged a most eloquent de- 
fender of the Christian faith, and the community in 
which he lived an honest, upright, and exemplary 


The Theological School connected with Lom- 
bard University bears the name, Ryder Divinity 
School, and in 1890, after his benefac- 

President , .... 

White's Es- tions had been received, it was voted to 

timate. . -i rt i ■ i 

set apart the second ounday in each 
school year as the Ryder Memorial Conference 
Sunday. The first observance of the day was 
on September 14, 1890. The college chapel was 
filled with students, professors and others, many 
of whom had personally known and loved the 
good man. Among the addresses was one by 
President X. White, who referred to some of Dr. 
Ryder's qualities of character. He said : — 

"First among these qualities I would place that of 
moral earnestness. To the writer it seems as if this 



quality must have assumed heroic proportions in the 
minds of all who have ever heard him give ' nohle ex- 
pression to noble and inspiring thoughts.' With him 
the moral was the real, standing in direct and opera- 
tive relations to the highest interests of man in his 
individual and collective capacity. Feeling, too, that 
these interests are greater than our highest concep- 
tions concerning them, he may at times have seemed 
to overstate, even while himself conscious of inability 
to give adequate expression to the emergency of the 
claims of these interests on the human soul. These 
statements by no means imply that he was at all 
wanting in intellectual acumen, or that he underrated 
in the least the importance of the intellectual element 
in Christian teaching. They do imply, however, that 
he sought to view the whole of life from a moral 
stand-point. That truth was for him but a partial 
truth which does not bear on every part of life, 
that throws no added light on spiritual things, that 
'carries to the soul no new vision of God.' He 
sought to quicken life to a higher consciousness 
through the combined instrumentality of the intel- 
lect, the emotions, and the will. . . With Dr. Ryder, 
thought, feeling, and action were usually so closely 
interwoven as to lose their force in the mind 
of the speaker on the first attempt at severance. 
These elements, indeed, seemed to be so happily 
combined in him that each contributed its utmost to 
secure the in-rcsult. To this fact was largely due 
that intensity of character which specially distin- 
guished him, and that infectious energy which com- 


municated itself as a sustaining and elevating power 
to those who came within the charmed circle of his 
influence. To this earnestness of head and heart is 
due also his rare effectiveness as a public speaker." 


Professor J. C. Lee observed : — 

"Dr. Ryder had that steadfast faith which looks be- 
yond the seen, -which is temporal, to the unseen, 
Professor wllic h is of lasting worth. This character- 
J. C.Lee's istic is exemplified by two incidents of his 

Address. T . 

career, it is well known to his friends 
that his father wished him to follow the sea, and 
even urged him most earnestly to devote his life to 
that occupation. It was then a lucrative business, 
and promised swift prosperity and worldly success. 

'The thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.' 

The young man was longing for the world of books 
and study. He was dreaming of the ministry as 
the cherished vocation of his life. At length his 
modest but resolute and singlehearted devotion to his 
inmost conviction of duty won the day. How the end 
justified the wisdom of that choice, the record of his 
completed years bears witness. 

" The second instance of Dr. Ryder's far-seeino- 
faith belongs to his later period, when he had risen to 
a position of recognized usefulness and eminence as 


pastor of a strong church in Boston. The call came 
to him to become the leader of the Universalist move- 
ment in Chicago. His friends advised him to decline 
it. Why should he give up his pleasant surroundings 
and assured success for a doubtful experiment? No 
doubt his own heart told him why. Chicago was at 
that time in its formative stage. Its character was 
yet undetermined. Its population was of many races, 
miscellaneous and unmingled. Its moral nature was 
ready for the training that the strong hand of a mas- 
ter might impress upon it. There was need of a 
spiritual teacher, gifted and great, upright and in- 
flexible. Such a leader Chicago received in Dr. 
Ryder. By the eloquent words that he spoke, the 
irreproachable life that he lived, and the simple man- 
liness that was seen in him, he impressed his own 
sterling principles upon a band of earnest disciples, 
men who stand foremost in the best life and thought 
of that great city at the present day." 


Besides the theological school in Galesburg, 
TIL. named for him, there is a professorship of 
His Name clivlr. ity in St. Lawrence Theological 
Perpetuated. School. Canton, N. Y., called "the 
Ryder professorship," and there are Ryder clubs 
in connection with St. Paul's, Chicago, the Uni- 
versalist Church in Akron, Ohio, and elsewhere. 



Mr. James H. Swan, who stood very near to 
Dr. Ryder for many years, in the course of a 
letter to me, says : — 

" An almost daily communion with a character so 
full of strength in all the parts that were practical 
A Layman's could not fail to more or less influence 
Testimony an( j m0 uld that of others coming within 
its sphere. I know that my friend was by some 
thought cold and distant ; his natural dignity was to 
them the sign of exclusiveness. It is true that, com- 
bined with a proper sense of the fitness of things, 
there came through the experiences of his active life 
the evidences of that extraordinary discretion that 
made his words ' as apples of gold in pictures of 
silver.' And his advice was often and eagerly sought 
by those who were in trouble of various kinds. But no 
warmer, truer heart ever beat for those near him, for 
those who trusted him, than that of our brother. 
And that a fountain of tender love was ever his, and 
responded to every true friendship, I never had a 
doubt. I think it may have required years of inter- 
course to come to a full knowledge of all this, 
but the knowledge once obtained was of priceless 
value. . . . 

"I recall an incident that illustrates this. After 
four or five years of superintendence of the Sunday- 
school I had begun to feel that there was not that 


"Towth and vigor evident that should have been rea- 
sonably expected, and that possibly the infusion of 
younger blood would be conducive to a more assured 
prosperity ; and with this conviction I said to my 
pastor, ' I believe a younger man in my place in the 
Sunday-school would accomplish more, and bring it 
larger and better results, and with your permission I 
will hand in my resignation at the next monthly 
meeting.' I shall never forget his answer ; putting 
his hands on my shoulders, and looking me full in 
the face he said, ' Brother Swan, through these years I 
have learned to depend on you as I have on no other 
layman ; you have been by my side and in my heart 
to love and trust. I need you just where you are ; 
stay there ! Don't say any of these words again ; let 
us live and work together, content with such result.s 
as the good Lord may send us.' I was satisfied that 
it was my duty to heed his words ; and looking back 
to that point to-day, I am thankful that 1 yielded an 
unquestioning obedience to that request. May I re- 
veal what I have not before mentioned, and tell you 
how fully he appreciated and returned my confidence ? 
I received a note one winter day, a few years after the 
above incident, in which I was asked to call on my 
way home. Entering his study, he handed me a 
folded paper, saying, ' Please look this over, and tell 
me what disposition to make of it.' I read the 
paper ; it was his resignation as pastor of St. Paul's 
Church. That I was surprised and dismayed goes 
without saying. We both sat in silence for a few mo- 
ments ; he was the first to speak : ' What have you to 


advise?' 'Commit it to the waste-basket,' was the 
reply ; the paper was torn into small pieces, and 
slowly dropped, as suggested. Our hearts were too 
full for words, and with an earnest grasp of the hand 
we parted. . . . 

" What shall I say as to the profound religious 
convictions of my friend ? In all the relations of 
life, in its busiest and most exacting cares, as in 
the place from which he broke to us the bread of 
life, ever came the impression of his being rooted and 
grounded in the truth ; that was the basis of all the 
plans and purposes of his busy life. ' I believe in 
God, and in individual human responsibility,' was 
an utterance of his often made, and no one listening 
ever doubted the deep sincerity of the utterance. 
Never have I listened, nor shall I ever listen to 
convictions expressed that have more deeply im- 
pressed me; the deep reverence of his petitions to 
the Father of all has led thousands nearer to the 
throne of mercy than ever they had felt they were 
before, and those who joined him as he led us in 
the last act of public prayer will carry the impres- 
sion of that hour to the end of life. 

" I have told you, but only faintly, how, as friend, 
pastor, and teacher my life was and is touched and 
colored by this grand and loving presence ; the pict- 
ure of that life will ever stay with me. Each day of 
life will come to me with something of help and 
inspiration from it. So real was it, such a blessed 
fact to me, that often, even now, when more than 
three years are gone, he seems, as of old, walking 


by my side ; I almost see that dear, familiar face, 
and hear the tones of a voice so full of strength 
and eloquence." 


The Rev. E. M. Clark relates an incident that 
enables ns to look into his mind, and see how 
ACharacter- seriously and solemnly he regarded 
istic incident. ser i 0lls anc i solemn things. He would 
permit nothing trivial to intervene and disturb 
or deteriorate his thought when he was to con- 
sider an exalted theme. Mr. Clark says : — 

" One day at dinner a toast was assigned to Dr. 
Ryder, but he refused to speak on the topic given 
him. It was learned afterward that his refusal was 
not arbitrary. He was soon to hold a communion 
service, and he would not descend from his high alti- 
tude of thought and feeling." 


The Rev. Dr. J. H. Tuttle accurately sums up 
the characteristics of his friend as he appeared 
in his eyes : — 

" Dr. Ryder was a remarkable man. He possessed 
to an unusual degree the art of serving his own de- 
nomination faithfully, and of winning at the same 
time the good opinion of all the other denominations. 
I have never known a stronger, more loyal Universal- 


ist, nor one -whom the Orthodox- were more fond of 
complimenting, and of almost claiming as their own. 
The Rev Dr ^ e * ia ^ a decided theology, and a decided 
Tattle's Esti- manner in preaching it. His pulpit habit 
mate. . , , . , „, 

was somewhat polemical. There was not 

the least ambiguity or evasion in his utterances. He 
asked of Christ only what he should say. He drove 
his argument with a heavy hammer, and through 
whatever creed or falsehood lay in its way ; and yet, 
strangely enough, he seldom gave offence. He loved 
the Universalist church, but did not hate churches of 
a different name ; and it was impossible for them to 
hate him. They admired his frankness, listened to his 
reasoning, and believed in his sincerity, if not in his 
conclusions. No minister in Chicago was more pop- 
ular among other religious sects than he ; and yet he 
kept his denominational flag always flying from the 
top of his influence. . . . He was not as slow and 
careful in dealing with what he deemed impractica- 
bilities submitted to him by his weaker brethren, as he 
might have been, or as perhaps he should have been. 
I had occasion to retreat from his presence somewhat 
abashed, yea, and deeply grieved a few times, when his 
adverse judgment had summarily demolished a scheme 
of mine which I had worked out with much enthu- 
siasm and hoped would meet with his approval. I 
was less deliberate, more imaginative, and more in- 
clined to speculation than he ; and hence, when I had 
rushed over to his study with some new plan for 
creating a wider interest and a more complete co- 
operation in certain things which we^had mutually at 


heart, he would glance at my proposition, and if he 
thought it important and practicable he would grant 
me the necessary discussion and sympathy ; but he 
more frequently saw, or thought he saw, that I had 
brought him only a bag of air, and so with a singu- 
larly caustic expression of countenance, not at all 
flattering to my pride, he answered me by deliberately 
sticking a pin into my little balloon and watching its 
sudden cullapse. How much this hurt me he did not 
always know, nor even guess ; but I have no trouble 
now, if I had any then, in believing that it was no 
part of his purpose to give me pain. I should have 
been happier at the moment, at least, if he could have 
been more patient with my castle-building, and had 
dismissed my hopes less suddenly, with less apparent 
indifference. But it was his way. He did not lack 
kindness. He was not an unbrotherly brother. He 
was self-reliant, and had such small need of counsel 
and sympathy, generally, himself, that he could not 
always fully realize their helpfulness to others. . . . 

" To say that he had no faults would, of course, be 
extravagant praise, a praise he himself, could he 
speak, would be the first to resent. What minister 
has ever lived so long among us, who has acted so 
large and so conspicuous a part, who had fewer 
faults or more eminent virtues to excuse him ? There 
was no break in the consistency of his deportment 
when he went into the pulpit, and none when he left 
it. He was no more perfect as a preacher than as 
a pastor, husband, father, friend, and citizen. 

" In looking back, then, through the twenty-five 


years which have passed since I ceased to be Dr. 
Ryder's neighbor ; in reviewing my associations with 
him while I lived in Chicago, I do not find the slight- 
est shadow on rny delightful recollections of him ; and 
it is with extreme pleasure and sincerity that I record 
my entire confidence in him as a Christian gentleman, 
as well as my great admiration of his rare abilities as 
a theologian, reasoner, and preacher. His influence 
in the pulpit was equalled only by his dignity and 
urbanity and Christian courtesy and purity of life 
among the people." 


The " Inter-Ocean " of May 23, 1878, giving a 
series of pulpit pictures, includes Dr. Ryder, 
and thus paints him as he looked to the secular 
press : — 

"Dr. Ryder has a magnificent voice, — rich, deep, 
resonant, and admirably managed ; and nothing could 
. c , be finer than the Scriptural reading;, in 

A beeular r °' 

View of Dr. which the musical chanting of the choir 
comes in contrast with his deep, smooth 
tones. The congregation seems to have little partici- 
pation in the opening exercises, the people simply 
playing the part of listeners to the really fine music 
and to Dr. Ryder's majestic elocution. When he be- 
gins his sermon, Dr. Ryder leaves the desk, and 
standing free, without manuscript or book, takes an 
attitude that suggests the old Websterian, or stately 


school of oratory. His manner from the first is 
characterized by dignified stateliness. He never for- 
gets that he is in the pulpit, and to be in the 
pulpit, with him, is to be earnest and devout. Be- 
longing to what are termed ' liberal Christians,' he 
has the manner and the bearing of a conservative. 
Belonging to a school classed naturally as adventur- 
ous and aggressive, Dr. Ryder seems the very man 
to be careful and circumspect. It would be a pleas- 
ure to hear his voice alone. It is a double pleasure 
to hear him read the Scriptures, and enter upon 
comment and discussion, as though the sacredness of 
the theme abashed and humbled him. At first his 
eyes avoid, rather than seek, the eyes of the people 
before him. Their movement is constrained, the 
glances coining and going like those of a boy unduly 
conscious of being observed. For the first few min- 
utes Dr. Ryder's attitude is a little stiff, and his man- 
ner formal. He states his proposition clearly, however, 
and as he warms to the work of discussion, he be- 
comes easy in attitude and manner. Both hands 
come into play in gestures, and the eyes become 
earnest in their gaze and animated in movement. 
His voice seems to give character and color to his 
argument. In other words,- the thought-method is 
suited to the mellow profundity of the voice. There 
is in his language no departure from traditional pulpit 
dignity ; no clipping toward colloquial easiness. There 
is in the sentiment a steady, even earnestness. There 
are no vivid illustrations, no impassioned outbursts, no 
tricks of argument. The movement forward is like 


the steady flowing of a deep, strong stream, with not 
a sparkle, and scarcely a ripple on the surface. 
There are no sharp turns, no irregularities, hut there 
is throughout the discourse a steady on-going, corre- 
sponding to the continuity of the thought current, and 
to a fixed steadiness of purpose. Dr. Ryder is less 
effective in emphasis than one would suppose. What 
would be sharp and crisp with another man, is witli 
him a sort of stately sincerity. At no time does he 
seem to use his voice as well as he might, and at no 
time is there evinced the least disposition toward 
affectation or stagincss in its management. It is a 
fine adjunct of powerful argument and stirring appeal 
held steadily to the work-a-day line. During the first 
half of his discourse Dr. Ryder does not refer to his 
manuscript. Finally, he takes up the pages, and, 
holding them in his hand, steps away from the desk, 
as before, reading from them as occasion requires. 
As to the religious or doctrinal character of his ser- 
mons, it may be said that the most orthodox would 
listen to a majority of them with approval." 


In common with the larger number of the 
better educated members of the clerical pro- 
tt . Ti , . fession, previous to his removal to 

His Pulpit _ x 

Method, Prep- Chicago Dr. Ryder was a preacher 

from manuscript, but on going West 

he adopted what is sometimes erroneously called 


the extempore method, but which, in point of 
fact is often, as it was with him, studied and 
labored as much as the written discourse. 

It may interest the younger men in the min- 
istry to learn his manner of pulpit preparation. 
He wa*s accustomed to make notes of passing 
thoughts, and the suggestions of his own mind, 
or those of others, in conversation, — and he 
had a rare faculty of absorbing from others 
what they said, and assimilating and reproduc- 
ing it in his own way. Many a time we have 
heard him say, after an interview : " Now I will 
go home and arrange the sermon I have just 
caught." He was also accustomed to make 
references to the books or magazines he was 
reading, and cut clippings from the journals, 
and for the time being throw them into a 
drawer, and at subsequent intervals arrange 
them in large manila envelopes, topically la- 
belled. On preparing for Sunday, if he had no 
theme in mind, he would examine his envelopes, 
and finding one that suited him he would 
pour out the contents and look them over. The 
various facts, incidents, and statements would fer- 
tilize his thought, and having filled his mind, and 
started his theme, he had his sermon in substance. 
Having methodically arranged his ideas, he trusted 
to the inspiration of the hour to habilitate his 


thought in the garb of language. He rarely 
quoted from others, was original in his mode of 
treatment and expression, seldom indulged in 
anything rhetorical, but in a plain, matter-of-fact 
style and with wonderful simplicity proceeded 
directly to the point, and aiming straight at the 
common-sense and better feelings of his hearers, 
produced the impression on each mind that the 
speaker was dealing directly and personally with 

And always beneath all he said was an under- 
tone of deep feeling, on which the sympathies of 
his hearers were carried. Often playful, he was 
never trivial. He made it appear whenever he 
spoke that what he had to say was worth hear- 
ing. And rarely did any one listen to him 
without an uplifting of the spirit, and the con- 
viction that the better life is worth striving for. 
It was said of one of England's distinguished 
men, " No man could be as wise as Thurlow 
looked." Many a man and woman has wished 
he might be as good as Dr. Ryder seemed, and 
as his listeners felt he was, when at his best he 
read the Bible, prayed, or urged home some 
divine truth or sacred duty. 

His manner of preaching gave him great facil- 
ity and power of expression. He possessed a 
strength of statement that carried the force of 


a logical process. In conventions, platform 
meetings, and in all public gatherings he was 
ready to respond to the call to speak, and he at- 
tained an eminence in the pulpit perhaps the 
highest in Chicago — distinguished for its men 
of ability — during his more than twenty years 
of active ministry. And in his own denomina- 
tion, with the exception of that Chrysostom of 
the American pulpit, E. H. Chapin, D.D.. who 
had no equal, he was one of the four or five of 
the first rank of pulpit orators in our church 
during the last fifteen years of his life. 

The effect he produced was not merely pleas- 
ing, but healthful ; it was not ephemeral, but last- 
ing. If one could not always carry away the form 
of his discourse, rarely did the substance fail to 
remain with the hearer, who, listening to him 
with docile spirit, found himself quickened and 
stimulated to the better life. And there are 
those whose ears can never again listen to any 
human speech so impressive as they used to 
hear from "the voice that is still!" And this 
may be said to be the effect he produced : his 
preaching was conducive to character ; it was 
formative, in the true sense edifying, — it built 
up those who habitually listened to his words. 
The devoted men and women of St. Paul's Church 
were not only among the foremost in all that 


related to the welfare of the public, but the 
church had the confidence of the community. 
If the church was proud of its pastor for his 
eminent position in public esteem, he could well 
be thankful that he was surrounded and sus- 
tained by so many worthy exponents of the 
truths he inculcated. 

It is doubtful if any other preacher in the 
city commanded so wide an influence outside 
his own church. Whenever any great question 
agitated the public mind, and he was announced 
to express himself on it, his church was thronged, 
and his word was weighty in settling public opin- 
ion. And the verdict of his congregation, stran- 
gers as well as habitual hearers, usually was that 
his counsel was wise and his conclusions just. 


Unlike most of his ministerial brethren, and 

not following the example of his father, who was 

a Freemason, Dr. Ryder never became 

Not a Mem- 
ber of any a member of any of the secret soci- 

■Secret Order. 

eties. While he expressed no hostility 
to them, he never seemed to find time or inclina- 
tion to become a Freemason, an Odd Fellow, or 
one of the wearers of regalia which so many find 
useful and interesting. In his playful way he of- 



ten affected to discover attempts at giving " the 
grip " when shaking hands with his friends. It 
would tax the most brilliant imagination of 
those who knew him well to picture him in 
public wearing an apron, or to see attached to 
his name the multitudinous suffixes that draw 
so heavily on the printer's font of capitals when 
the name of many an otherwise inconspicuous 
gentleman appears in print. 


Possibly Dr. Ryder's indifference to music and 

poetry, and the mere ornamentation of discourse, 

might be regarded as an unfortunate 

Iii'l i ff ttciicg 

to Music and deficiency. I do not remember to have 
heard him quote a line of poetry in 
any public address or private conversation ; 
and he was not moved by what would have 
been regarded by many as an intellectual treat, — 
a merely literar}' essay or " flowery " discourse. 
Indeed he had little interest in the pulpit essay, 
or the ornate sermon, in which ornamentation 
was prominent. He preferred the direct and 
practical going from the mind and heart of the 
speaker straight to the heart and mind of the 
hearer, " as a man talketh to his brother," with- 
out dallying by the way for rhetorical posies or 


literary decoration. What would be an agree- 
able treat to many fell on his ear without much 
effect. He was probably the loser in enjoyment 
from this lack of appreciation, but it gave in- 
creased directness and forcefulness to his oratory, 
and enabled him to focus his thought more effec- 
tually. When aiming at a hearer's mind his was 
the minie-ball rather than the scattered volley of 
small shot. 

He rarely moved his lips when the congrega- 
tion sang the songs of Zion, and when he did 
the sound of his voice was no relation to the 
tune being sung. He preferred the din of many 
voices, however crude the result, to the most 
elaborate efforts of trained vocalists. He would 
doubtless have sympathized with Dr. Johnson, 
who, when he manifested no interest in a highly 
scientific musical performance, was told : " But 
it is very difficult." "Difficult?" replied old 
Ursa Major, " would it were impossible ! " And 
it must be conceded that too often in church the 
religious effect of organ and choir is marred if 
not ruined by the complicated performances of 
scientific musicians in their attempts to render 
the masterpiece of some composer whose name 
would be on all lips if we could only pronounce 
it ! More than once have we seen him at the 
close of such a performance — "performance" 


is the word — rise, and with unconscious satire 
exclaim, as though it had not occurred to him 
that what had just been heard constituted any 
part of worship : " Let us now praise God by 

singing the hymn." But those who knew 

him best were sure that he sang with the spirit 
and the understanding, as truly as though he 
had joined others in making melody with the 
lips. No doubt there are those who as really 
sing unto God in " expressive silence," though 
lacking the ability to produce vocal melody, as 
there are dumb poets who never penned a 
rhyme. It should not be inferred from this 
that his was a merely practical mind. He was 
a genuine lover of art ; architecture, painting, 
sculpture filled his mind with delight. He 
wandered over many lands to gratify his love 
of the beautiful in art, and gathered many 
trophies to adorn his home ; and though in 
no sense a mere dilletante, he had the eye to 
detect and the faculty to enjoy art in all its 
forms. While he could never have become a 
poet or a musician, he had no less love of the 
beautiful ; which adorned his rugged nature as 
the mountain flower decorates and softens the 
granite cliff. 



In church conventions, State and general, Dr. 
Ryder's was always among the most command- 
ing influence m S figures, and influential voices. He 
in Debate. ^ nofc S p ea k ften, but always to the 
purpose. How many times have we listened to 
earnest debate, the advantage seeming to go 
this way and that, the decision wavering until 
perhaps having taken no part previously, he 
would rise, and seizing the salient issue would 
so state it that the assemblage would g-o en 
masse in the direction of his argument. He 
identified his personality with his statements, 
and put himself into what he said, so that his 
words always weighed. 


Perhaps no minister in our church was ever 
able to attract the respect and kindly feelings 
Respected by °f so many of the people of other 
otherDe- ° f churches. No doubt many a one who 

nominations. ] iag oCCLipiecl OUT pulpits Was as good 

and true as he, who was regarded by Christians 
of other names as only the advocate of an er- 
roneous faith, because he lacked the combina- 
tion of traits that commended Dr. Ryder to 


them and won their regard and love. And 
many another has been " popular " through the 
cultivation of a disposition to keep conviction 
in the background, and from a morbid love of 
popularity. But he had no concealments ; was 
the most outspoken of men ; was decided, defi- 
nite, true as steel to the most positive convic- 
tions, but he so transfused his words with the 
genuine spirit of Christ, and so persuaded men 
of his possession of that divine spirit, that he 
melted their hearts and won their love in spite 
of the erroneous theology they supposed him to 
accept. It was very common to hear him made 
an exception of when his co-laborers were con- 
demned, and the most rigid advocates of other 
forms of faith could find no terms too exalted, 
during his life and after his death, to express 
their admiration of him as a minister, a man. 
and a Christian. They thought his excellence 
was in spite of his religion ; but he would have 
told them that every impulse of his heart that 
made him what he was got its inspiration from 
the form of faith he first heard from the lips of 
his mother, and whose inculcations he had made 
the theme of his life-long ministry. 

In 1890, at an Odd Fellows' celebration in his 
native town, an excellent Methodist brother 
gave a written speech, in the course of which 


he spoke of Dr. Ryder as the donor of the lot 
on which stood the Town Hall, and paid the 
following compliment to the man and his 
religion, — 

" That great and noble man, — how we love to 
think of him ! But some of you may say, ' He was a 
Universalist,' and perhaps you may not like him for 
that ; but the fact is, he had so big a heart that it was 
impossible for him to be anything else. He could not 
help being a Universalist." 


Dr. Ryder's personal appearance was very 
attractive. Though he was not what is called 
Personal a handsome man, yet, as one saw 
Appearance, u £] ie m ind, the music breathing from 
the face," the first and continual impression 
was that he was good-looking. He was of me- 
dium height, — about five feet nine inches, of 
average weight for his height, black eyes, black 
hair that became iron gray in later years, full 
beard, but no moustache, in manner and move- 
ment slow and dignified, but by no means 
heavy. As he stood before an audience he 
impressed all with his evident and thorough 
sincerity. Those listening who knew him were 
sure there was a man behind every spoken 


word, and others felt impressed by the same 

He was always self-poised and self-possessed. 
No audience, no circumstances ever disturbed 
his balance, and it was a delight to see him, 
slowly and without hesitation, with his com- 
manding voice and majestic flow of speech, 
impress his personality on his audience. 

J. S. Cantwell, D.D., who knew him inti- 
mately for many years, says : — 

" Dr. Ryder had a pleasant dignity of manner that 
was always attractive. He had that coolness and 
quietness of speech which came from self-confidence 
born of right intentions. He conveyed an impression 
of great power in himself, and his words, in the pulpit 
and out of it, took added weight and impressiveness 
from his deep, rich, resonant voice. His strong per- 
sonality, his deep Christian experience, his noble, 
sympathetic nature, his love of God and man gave 
weight to all he said and did." 


Dr. Ryder was gifted with a voice that would 
be a fortune to any public speaker, and espec- 
;,,.,,, ially to a clergyman, for it was pre- 

Pulpit Man- » a,J ' 

ner, Voice, eminently a pulpit voice, persuasive, 

commanding ; and when it became the 

vehicle of impassioned sentiment, it was of 


overwhelming force, carrying all before its 
impetuous torrent. In ordinary conversation, 
in a crowd, among strangers, his mere utter- 
ance of a common remark would arrest atten- 
tion. His first words in a public assemblage 
would instantly produce the hush of expec- 
tancy. But it was in prayer that his voice 
j)ossessed its most fascinating charm. It rolled 
over a congregation like the sound of an organ. 
Its solemn and reverberating diapason seemed 
the soul of devotion, and when his prayer cul- 
minated in a climax of exalted worship " it was 
good to be there." The utterance of the word 
"Amen," was a revelation of the power of a 
word, and unfolded a volume of meaning that 
many a hearer had never suspected the word 
to contain. If true, as was sometimes said of 
him, that he had " a genius for saying common 
things in a most uncommon way," it was no 
less true that he had the power of expressing 
the grandest and noblest sentiments with a 
symmetrical majesty of utterance. 

With Dr. Ryder's voice, his dignified de- 
meanor, and serious, solemn, reverential manner 
perfectly harmonized. Not at all professional 
or perfunctory, he seemed naturally adjusted to 
the pulpit, or to the tribune, when weighty 
themes were being considered. He appeared 
" to speak as one having authority." 



There were those who at a single interview, 
or on a slight acquaintance, thought Dr. Ryder 
His De- unapproachable, in consequence of his 

meaiior, Geu- L L * 

uineuess, etc. dignified and somewhat distant man- 
ner ; but it only required further knowledge of 
the man to learn that beneath the surface was a 
genuine sincerity, and that he was full of kindly 
feelings. He was too much controlled by a 
sense of inflexible justice to permit himself to 
withhold what he thought due to every human 
being, and too just, therefore, to himself to wear 
a veneering of mere appearance. 

Indeed, a juster man one could rarely, if ever, 
find. However tenderly he might regard an- 
other, nothing could induce him to swerve his 
judgment from what equity required. An en- 
emy, if he had one, might have relied as implic- 
itly on his candor as his best friend. Indeed, 
this characteristic rendered him a true friend. 
In certain business relations connected with our 
publishing interests, and in other transactions. 
I found that he would deal as uncompromisingly 
with one he liked as with one who had given 
him cause of dislike. He would speak as 
frankly of, and deal even more severely with, 
the fault of a friend than with the defect of an 


enemy. Once he absolutely refused to serve on 
the Committee of Fellowship, and sit in judg- 
ment on an accused minister, because he thought 
his distrust of the man might prejudice his 

Cautious in his expression of any unfavorable 
opinion of another, and very careful to conceal 
his feelings of disapprobation or distrust, he 
avoided offence where a less reticent man would 
have caused unnecessary trouble ; but when an 
important occasion demanded, he spoke in tones 
that were unmistakable. 

His dignified mien and positive manner con- 
veyed the impression to some who did not know 
him well that he was dictatorial, arbitrary, 
" popish." No opinion could be wider from the 
truth. He was slow to assert an opinion that 
would seem to countervail, another's ideas ; and 
was averse to giving advice, even when solicited 
by one who was responsible to the public for his 

A less dictatorial man, one less inclined to 
employ his great personal influence, or a kinder 
associate, more thoughtful and considerate of 
the rights and feelings of others, was hard to 
find. He was at the furthest remove from a 
dictator, or one who desired to control the 
actions of others. 



Dr. Ryder was an ideal churchman, perhaps 
in all respects the most representative denom- 
An ideal inational clergyman in our communion. 
Churchman. p ar f rom being a mere ecclesiastic, he 
was intensely loyal to the church he had chosen. 
While so broad in his sympathies as to attract 
the kindly regard of men of all denominations, 
he was thoroughly devoted to his own church. 
He was incapable of seeing how it is possible 
for a man to take upon himself the vows of 
the ministerial office in any branch of the 
church of Christ, and refrain from devoting 
himself loyally to its interests, much less em- 
ploy his talents and influence in the work of 
undermining it, or perverting it from its stand- 
ards and traditions. He was not a Univer- 
salist clergyman " for revenue only." Had he 
at any moment discovered that he could no 
longer accept the principles on which our de- 
nomination was built and has ever stood, not 
only as to the final destiny of mankind, but as 
to the authority of the Holy Scriptures as the 
supreme rule in matters of faith and practice, 
and the Lordship of Christ, no consideration 
would have been potent enough to detain him 
another hour in its fellowship. The ministry of 


the Universalis! Church has been somewhat re- 
cruited from the ministerial ranks of other de- 
nominations, and it is not unnatural that any 
appearance of liberality on the part of a partial- 
ist clergyman should be hailed and encouraged 
by our people. Too often latitudinarianism has 
been mistaken for progress in Christian truth, 
and a pervert from partialism has been far from 
being a convert to Universalism. But, no longer 
a partialist. it has been too hastily and unwar- 
rantably assumed that he is therefore a Chris- 
tian Universalist. Too much restrained in his 
old relations, the reaction on being released 
carries him as far in one direction from the 
golden mean as he had been in the other. One 
extreme is followed by another. He shuns the 
Scylla of "orthodoxy," falsely so called, only to 
be wrecked on the Charybclis of " rationalism," 
also falsely so called. He is hastily styled, and 
as hastily and no doubt honestly concludes that 
he is a liberal Christian, but not infrequently it 
happens that he spells " Liberal " large and 
"Christian" exceedingly small. 

The existence of this tendency on the part of 
a small portion of our ministry was a source 
of great anxiety to Dr. Eyder. He felt that 
it was better to err in the direction of toleration, 
than even to seem to be disposed to persecute 


those who were alienating our church from its 
" foundation on the prophets and the apostles, 
Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner 
stone," and he hoped that the fidelity of our 
press and literature and leading ministers and 
most prominent laymen would in time clarify 
the ministry, and that it would stand as it 
ever has stood, as a body, for Christianity 
as a revealed religion. He said, over and 
over, that our ministry would be far more 
powerful for good with five hundred devoted, 
united, Christian men, working as a unit, than 
with threefold that number frittering away 
their strength by working at cross purposes. 
At times his chief anxiety was lest the " ration- 
alistic " tendency, sporadic as it had been, should 
become epidemic and spread a dry rot through 
the church he loved. More than once have we 
heard him lament the existence of "radical" 
tendencies, and wonder how any one yielding to 
these tendencies could continue to occupy one 
of our pulpits. Much as he loved the church 
with which he was identified, we have often 
heard him say that, should the time ever come 
when his denomination should officially recog- 
nize such non-Christian views as Universalism, 
he should no longer be able to remain in its 
fold. He recognized the right and duty of every 


man to give honest expression to his honest 
thought, but he insisted that he had no right to 
put his neighbor's label on his own wares, or 
sail under a flag that he was not trying to up- 
hold. Having identified himself with the Uni- 
versalist Church, he was always in the truest 
and best sense of the term, a churchman. Be- 
lieving that the Universalist Church had a provi- 
dential mission in the world, and that he was 
also providentially in its ministry, he felt that 
he could serve the world best by entire and con- 
secrated fidelity to its interests. Nor was it 
enough, he thought, to do his utmost in the pul- 
pit and parish in which lay his sphere of labor, 
but he also felt and honored the call to attend, 
as far as possible, all convocations of those of 
like precious faith. Dedications, ordinations, 
mass meetings, associations, conventions, educa- 
tional, and publication movements, all found in 
him a wise, earnest friend. When he drew near 
the end of life's journey his pen placed on 
record the grand peroration of the life-long 
eloquence of his voice, and thus he incorporated 
in local church, State and general convention, 
denominational colleges, and publishing house 
interests, the proofs that he was in all respects 
a broad, generous, devoted churchman, whose 
daily song well might be, — 


" I love thy church, O God ; 
Her walls before thee stand 
Dear as the apple of thine eye, 
And graven on thy hand. 

" For her my tears shall fall, 
For her my prayers ascend, 
To her my toils and cares be given, 
Till cares and toils shall end." 

To his mind the Church was composed of all 
believers, and his own branch bore some such re- 
lation to the whole as one of our States sustains 
to the Federal Union. 


Much, perhaps most of the good influence of 
the thoroughly good man flows from the funded 
influence of character, which he has accumulated 
character, through exercising a good spirit and 
living a good life. When he speaks it is not 
only the spoken word that tells, but the mes- 
sage is re-enforced by the man and the life be- 
hind it. A virtue exhales from his very pres- 
ence. Good resolutions and better resolves are 
started in hearts that do not suspect their 
source, which itself is not conscious of the 
power it exerts. It is the unconscious influence 
of a good character. The poet Browning, in 



one of his most suggestive poems, "Pippa 
Passes," illustrates this. A poor Italian girl, 
a silk weaver, has a holiday. She goes on her 
outing, to make the most she can of her clay 
of pleasure, but laments that she, a poor silk- 
weaver, can do no good, has no influence, and 
yet she scatters her despondency by the happy 
reflection that " God 's in his heaven ; all 's right 
with the world." As she goes on her way, sing- 
ing this refrain, she is heard or seen by those 
cherishing evil thoughts, or about to plunge 
into crime ; but the sight of her innocent face or 
the sound of her heavenly voice exorcises the 
evil disposition, and the mere fact that " Pippa 
Passes " explains the good influence that touches 
and elevates and blesses. It was the uncon- 
scious influence of a good character. Eloquence 
without it is mere sound. Prayer in its absence 
is a blank cartridge, that begins and ends in 
noise. With it in a minister, his language 
carries tenfold weight, and wherever he goes he 
is a benediction. It always seemed to the author 
of this memorial that, strong, able, eloquent as 
Dr. Ryder was, the chief source of his power in 
the world resided in that unconscious influence 
that emanated from a personality, unconsciously 
exerted, and unconsciously recognized by all 
with whom he came in contact. 




Few clergyman in his denomination more 
thoroughly preached Christ. Some preacher? 
He Preached m tne "liberal" church present our 
Christ. Lord as a mere example, a good man. 
perhaps the best of whom we have a record, 
whose traits are worthy of all imitation, but 
who reached his excellence by the natural ex- 
ercise and development of his native powers 
and qualities. Possessing, possibly, a rare 
genius for religion, as Shakspeare for dramatic 
composition, Da Vinci for painting, Giotto for 
architecture, he achieved his excellence and be- 
came what he was, and all he was, of himself." 
He was a great and good, but merely natural 
man, — a perfect specimen of human nature at 
its best. With such views Dr. Ryder had no 
sympathy. His habitual language, when refer- 
ing to our Saviour, was, "our Lord.' 7 He re- 
garded him as miraculously born and endowed, 
and supernaturally gifted and aided. He was 
the " Sent of God," the Messiah. He pre-existed 
with the Father before his advent to earth, and 
laid aside a superhuman dignity and glory that 
he mia;ht come to earth on his mission of love. 
He interpreted literally such passages as: "He 
took upon himself the form of a servant," and 


taught that he voluntarily assumed the human 
estate, that he might execute the mission con- 
fided to him by the Father. 

While therefore he was in the truest and 
hig-hest sense a Unitarian, in regarding; the Son 
as subordinate to the Father, he shrank from the 
name as involving in the average mind those de- 
graded views of Christ that make him only an 
extraordinary historical personage, if indeed he 
is not a mythical creation of some dreamer. 

Of the many good men I have known, he as 
much as any one in public and private seemed 
filled with devout aspirations to conform his life 
to the pattern set by the Divine Model. Not 
only his prayers, his sermons, his public ad- 
dresses, but his private conversations, his con- 
fidential moods seemed to embody the poet's 
thought, — 

" Thou, O Elder Brother, who 
In thy flesh our trials knew, 
Thou who hast been touched by these 
Our most sad infirmities, — 
Make my mortal dreams come true, 
With the work I fain would do ; 
Clothe with life the weak intent; 
Let me be the thing I meant, — 
Out of self to love be led, 
And to heaven acclimated, 
Until all things sweet and good 
Seem my natural habitude." 



In harmony with these teachings were his 
views concerning the Atonement. He rejected 
on the au< ^ 10U g n t of the substitutional char- 
Atonement. acter f tne sacrifice of the Christ, 
and yet insisted and dwelt upon the fact of its 
truly vicarious character. The sufferings of the 
Christ were vicarious as are the mother's for her 
beloved child, for whom and with whom she 
suffers. The Christ died for man, — not in his 
stead, but in his behalf ; not to prevent man 
from suffering, but to teach him the lesson of 
self-sacrifice. In this thought the Christ was 
truly human, and yet more than human. His 
birth, life, deeds, character were preternatural. 
Perhaps the language of the poet expresses his 
thought : — 


' ; Thou seemest human and divine, 
The highest, holiest manhood, thou ; 
Our wills are ours we know not how, 
Our wills are ours to make them thine." 

The Christology of Dr. Ryder was sub- 
stantially identical with that of the late E. 
II. Chapin, D. D. 


During the last year or two of his life Dr. 
Ryder had contemplated an elaborate work on 
the Atonement, and had made considerable 
progress in its preparation. He had given the 
writer of this volume an outline of his plan, 
and had shown him the manuscript of that por- 
tion relating to the Old Testament. A few 
weeks before his last illness we went together to 
consult a type-writer in reference to copying his 
manuscript, and arranged to place in her hands 
the finished sections ; but he never executed his 
intentions, nor could his manuscript be found. 
It will be a matter of poignant regret that this 
work was not finished, for it would have been a 
valuable contribution to our church literature. 
His literary taste was very fastidious, and he ex- 
acted much of himself. He wrote and re-wrote, 
revised and re-revised, when designing pub- 
lication, so that such a work as he contemplated, 
a massive volume, would not only have been his 
matured utterance on the great theme of themes, 
but with ample leisure at his command, and 
every facility for prosecuting the congenial 
labor had his life been spared, he would have 
bequeathed a precious legacy of thought to his 
church and the world. 

He had communicated to Mr. Charles Caverly, 
agent of the Publishing House, his purpose of 


causing the results of his deepest and best 
thinking to be put into as handsome a volume 
as the printer's and binder's arts could make, 
and then presenting the volume and the copy- 
right to the Publishing; House. 


Dr. Ryder preached an expository sermon 

on the Atonement, Nov. 28th, 1875. He be- 

sran bv saying that Christ did not 

Sermon °. . " J ° 

on the die lor man as other men have died 

Atonement . . 

lor their lellow-men. In him the 
Divine and human were united as in no other. 

"He died to save sinners, for actual sinners, not 
for sin imputed to mankind in consequence of the 
sin of Adam, but for actual sinners. He did not die 
a substitutional death, but to lead men away from sin 
to holiness. He saves sinners by helping and lead- 
ing them into right ways of living and being. His 
dying makes man no less a sinner. The value of 
his death is in that for which it stands. It so pres- 
ents the Divine character and the value of goodness 
as to win the willing obedience of the soul. . . . 

" In all this discussion about the efficacy of the death 
of Christ, we are apt to place too much stress upon the 
relation of that death to eternity, rather than upon its 


relation to time. The eternity side of the question is 
most important. I consider it a fearful thing to pass 
out of this life in rebellion to God, unreconciled to 
his holy purposes of grace, and an enemy to human- 
kind. I warn you to take no such risk upon yourselves ; 
and I entreat you without a single hour's delay to 
open your heart to the influences of Divine mercy, and 
moke diligent exertion to be born of the spirit. But 
when I say this it ought to occur to you that there is 
no better way to be prepared for eternity than to do 
your duty in time. Hence you will find, if you leave 
the creeds, and study the life of Christ as the Gospels 
present it, that he said but little about eternity, or 
about preparation for death, or on any kindred topic. 
His appeal is to the lite that now is : 'Be ye recon- 
ciled to God,'— now. Everywhere the emphasis is on 
now. That is where the Beatitudes put it; that is 
where the Sermon on the Mount and the precepts and 
parables alike put it, the eternal now. To make death 
glorious, make life illustrious. The best preparation 
for a pure life to-morrow is a pure life to-day." 

The centre of his theological system, the 
foundation of his religious life, the chief im- 
pulse to his conduct, the theme of his medita- 
tion was Christ. And his Christ was no elusive, 
unsubstantial " Christ spirit " merely, — not a 
mythical invention ; not the product of some en- 
thusiastic dreamer's vagaries; not a subjective 
creation of his own, that might or might not 
have had the actual life of a real personage for 


it? foundation ; but his firm faith in the New Tes- 
tament records rendered the Christ of the Gos- 
pels an actual life, lived out among men for three 
and thirty years ; his spirit the real manifesta- 
tion of a human heart ; himself an historical 
being whose history is given in Holy Scripture. 
Fond of speculation, indulging in theological 
or metaphysical meditation, reverencing the 
sainted names of antiquity, he returned from 
all excursions to the one " name above every 
other name," and there reposed in serene con- 
fidence and unfaltering trust. 


The admirable courage and conspicuous frank- 
ness with which Dr. Ryder stood for the minut- 
est particular of his church and faith 

The Name . . . ... . 

Uuiversaiism are illustrated in his position in refer- 

Vindicated. , ,. . . „ 

ence to the distinctive name 01 his de- 
nomination. There are multitudes who accept 
the grand doctrines for which it stands, but 
shrink from the name they have been taught to 
despise. They " believe in universal salvation, 
but are not Universalists," they say. The truth 
is, " Universalism " is not only " the name that 
is above every other name " by which Christ- 
ian sects are designated, but no other sect wears 


a name that gives any hint of its view of God's 
moral government. This fact Dr. Ryder elo- 
quently states in this extract from one of his 
discourses : — 

" It is the only denominational name that stands 
for any leading quality of the Divine government. 

" It is the only denominational name that indicates 
what the result of the Divine government will be. 

" Extraordinary as this statement may seem to you, 
one has but to enumerate the names of the several 
Protestant sects to discover that it is strictly true. 
Presbyterians, — so-called on account of a form of 
government known as the Presbytery ; Congrega- 
tionalists, — governed by congregations, and not by a 
Presbytery ; Episcopal, — governed by bishops ; Bap- 
tists, — on account of peculiar ideas about baptism ; 
Methodists, — method in government, and in personal 
life ; Unitarians, — belief in the Divine Unity. And 
thus on through all the Protestant sects ; and when 
we come to the so-called " Catholic" church, the fact 
is the same, for " catholic " is the equivalent of uni- 
versal, and this is affirmed of the membership of the 
church, and not of the result of the spiritual reign 
of Christ. The only name of any Christian sect that 
does that is Universal ism. 

" It will impress you, I think, as very extraordinary, 
since all Christians recognize the moral government 
of God, and have much to say in relation to it, that 
there is only one branch of the entire Christian house- 
hold which bears a name that indicates anything either 


as to the nature or conclusion of that government. 
What is the explanation of this ? — for a fact so pecu- 
liar must be explicable. Possibly the answer may be 
found in one or both of the following reasons : — 

" 1. The result of the moral government of God as 
contemplated by Universalists. is the only one that 
any part of the church would like to perpetuate by a 
name. ' Electionists ' or • Reprobationists ' does 
not sound well, neither does * Partialists.' If one 
must accept the belief covered by either of these 
names, he would rather nor be designated by his 
faith in that name. And certainly in that respect 
we shall not question his good sense. 

" 2. The other reason to which we have alluded is, 
that most of the sects of modern times have been sub- 
stantially agreed in what they cegard as the essentials 
of faith, divergencies being upon other topics than 
those involving the substitutional theory of redemp- 
tion. It is simply a fact that the early Protestant 
sects were merely new grafts in the old papal tree ; 
the leaf, and in some respects the fruit, was different, 
but the sap of the tree in both trunk and branches 
was all the same. 

" But the peculiarity we mention with reference to 
our denominational name is hardly more remarkable 
than the fitness of this name to interpret the entire 
system of Gospel truth, — to represent the unfolding 
of the purposes of God as illustrated in history, and 
to express all that is good and great in human life 
and endeavor. In confirmation of these statements 
we instance these characteristics of this name : — 


" 1. Universalism is a system of religious thought, 
and not simply, as some would make it appear, the 
dogma of the world's salvation. The following con- 
cise definition of Universalism is worthy of preserva- 
tion. 80 far as I know, it appeared originally in the 
Rhode Island catechism, and is here recommended as 
a convenient formula for Sunday-schools and fami- 
lies : — 

"■ ' What is Universalism ? 

" ' It is a belief in one God, the Creator of all things 
and the Father of mankind ; in Jesus Christ, his Son, 
who is the true Teacher, Example, and Saviour of men ; 
in the Holy Spirit, the Comforter; in the certainty of 
retribution, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of 
all men from the dead, and their final holiness and hap- 
piness in the immortal life.' 

" 2. The second feature in this name which I notice, 
is what may be called the largeness of it, since it in- 
cludes the whole brotherhood of humanity ; bond and 
free, Jew and Gentile, Pagan and Christian, are all 
alike enfolded within its care, for they all alike are 
children of God, and included within his purposes of 
grace. For them all Christ died, for them all he rose 
from the dead, for them all the gates of opportunity 
are opened, and for each on Calvary was there given 
an assurance of pardoning love. 

" 3. The third characteristic we mention is the 
need of this name to express the wider thought which 
Christianity has awakened. 

"Those of you who are familiar with Uhlhorn's 
'Conflict of Christianity with Heathenism' will read- 


ily comprehend what 1 mean by this statement ; for he 
frequently employs the word in this popular sense, and 
entirely apart from all theological questions. All re- 
ligions before Christianity were largely local. All 
legislation, all hopes and purposes, however enno- 
bling and useful, were for classes and for nations as 
such. I quote these sentences from Uhlhorn's first 
chapter . — ' The Old World was not able to produce 
from itself a Christian Universalism. The result of 
that great process of comminution which was wrought 
out in the vast Roman Empire was only uniformity, 
not true unity. True unity presupposes diversity. It 
is a comprehension of the manifold under a higher 
principle of organization. Antiquity went beyond 
itself, and reached out its hands to the new epoch. 
Itself passing out from the ancient narrowness into a 
world-wide breadth of thought and life, the Old World 
became capable of accepting the universalism of Chris- 
tianity. . . . When, instead of a dead deity, was 
preached the living God, Maker of heaven and earth, 
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, then for the 
first time humanity was able to advance from the 
abstract cosmopolitanism into the true universalism 
which rules the Christian age.' 

" 4. But this name contemplates a result for which 
all good people pray ; and the better we become, and 
the less selfish we are, the more do we desire that it 
may be true. As the race advances the heart widens 
its embrace, and nothing less than the true universal- 
ism of Christianity can possibly satisfy the pleadings 
of the soul. And if this be true of the present condi- 


tion of society, what may be expected of those future 
ages when the nations shall have beaten ' their swords 
into plowshares and their spears into pruning-hooks,' 
and the brotherhood of the race shall have become 
fully realized ? 

" 5. Finally, what name but this is adequate to ex- 
press the nature and purposes of the God of the New 
Testament ? If the religion of his Son has thus 
broken down the walls of partition between nations 
and peoples, and is fast uniting the entire race by the 
bond of brotherhood, what name less comprehen- 
sive than this of Universalism can be applied to the 
work of his hands in nature, or to the purposes of 
his grace in Christ '( 

" Seeing, then, how excellent is this name which 
designates us as a church, and how suitable it is to 
express the more rational and catholic phases of re- 
ligious thought, it becomes us diligently to consider 
what further remains to be done to commend that 
name and the doctrines for which it stands more 
fully to the favor of the religious world." 


Dr. Ryder's domestic relations were of the 

most congenial character. The companion of 

his life was a most faithful and de- 

His Domestic it i i -t 

Relations. — voted wile and mother, and a woman 

}(er ' of rare worth and excellence. She 

belonged to that company of noble women that 


has produced a multitude deserving the wreath of 
sainthood, — ministers' wives. Often the most 
successful minister has owed a large part of his 
prosperity to his wife, whose advice, criticisms, 
and tact have so modified and supplemented his 
efforts as to achieve a success that otherwise 
would not have resulted from his labors. 

Mrs. Ryder was not only a faithful helpmeet, — 
one " who looked well to the ways of her house- 
hold," and who in all respects co-operated with her 
husband, — but a rare endowment of womanly 
tact and common sense rendered her judgment 
trustworthy. Her advice was constantly sought, 
though her husband was one who needed conn- 
sel less than most men ; and those who knew 
him well cannot fail to' remember how fre- 
quently he quoted her, and in the most re- 
spectful manner corroborated his decision by 
referring to her opinion. Reticent, not at all 
demonstrative, wonderfully discreet, kindly and 
careful in her reference to others, averse to oc- 
cupying any official position, she was the accepted 
adviser and helper of the one she revered and 
honored, and in whose successes she had great 
pride. And she conscientiously strove to be the 
friend of all, and the promoter of every enter- 
prise and instrumentality in which the church 
was interested, or that aimed at the general 


good. She was a great aid to her husband dur- 
ing almost forty-five years of companionship, 
and the one cloud that began to darken his sky 
during the last year of his life was her some- 
what impaired health, to which he frequently 
alluded with great solicitude. How little either 
of them, or any one who knew them, could fore- 
see that the robust man would be the first to go, 
and that she would remain to mourn his loss for 
two years and eleven months. 

A characteristic expression of his constant 
feeling is found in a letter written to Mr. James 
H. Swan, in Europe, under date of July 19, 
1886: — 

" I am also very thankful that Mrs. Ryder remains 
so well, and seems to enjoy the days as they go by. 
Our home is very dear to us both. I pray that the 
day may be long delayed when either of us will be 
compelled to tread the path of life without the helpful 
companionship of the other." 

Engaged to his life-long companion at seven- 
teen, and married at twenty-one, the wisdom of 
years of experience justified the early choice. 
In a speech at the dedication of the town hall 
in his native place, Dr. Ryder said, " I should 
choose her out of all the women in the world if 
I had my life to live over again." And Mr. 


James H. Swan, who saw the home-life of the 
manse, says, — 

" One of the bright sides of our brother's character 
was his home life ; the model husband and father was 
always the gallant lover. That which is supposed to 
throw over the young married life its lustre and 
glamour was ever suggested in the family life, beneath 
the roof that gave shelter to him and his. Often 
have I marked that tender solicitude with which he 
noted symptoms favorable or otherwise, as to the 
health of the one who seemed more and more a neces- 
sity to him. The kindly tenderness and anxiety, 
supposed to be the special possession of the youthful 
husband, were always evident with him, and more and 
more so, even, as the years went on." 

After the departure from New England had 
been determined upon, in 1860, the "Trumpet" 
said, — 

" Br. Ryder was singularly fortunate in the choice 
of a wife. Mrs. R. (let us say to her western sisters, 
among whom she is to reside) has been deeply re- 
spected in New England. We are all deeply sorry to 
part with her. Her counsel, her generosity, her good 
taste, her peace-diffusing life will linger long in our 
memory. One bright little daughter crowns tbeir 
union. May the protection of the Lord be round 
about them." 

The announcement given by the editor of the 


" Trumpet " concerning the young wife was ful- 
filled in all her later years. 

At the time of her husbancVs death Mrs. 
Ryder was already feeble, and the effect of her 
bereavement was much dreaded by her friends ; 
but, though no immediate illness followed, she 
grew gradually weaker, and her continual theme 
was the desire to be with •'•' William," whose 
companionship she was sure of enjoying when- 
ever the inevitable end should come. The event 
came at last; Feb. 8, 1891, she quietly and 
peacefully sank to rest. 

The estimate in which she was held by the 
church is shown in a memorial unanimously 
adopted at a meeting of the church, Feb. 28, 

The memorial says, — 

" Mrs. Ryder will live in the memory of this church 
as a woman loyal and true in all the relations of life, 
the faithful, helpful wife, always iu sympathy with 
the work of her noble husband, ever at his side with 
words of wise counsel and honest encouragement, the 
true and tender mother, the discreet and prudent 
friend and neighbor, the consistent Christian disciple. 
Our sympathies are with those who, nearest her, most 
deeply mourn her absence from them." 



On Friday, March 6, 1891, Mrs. James H. 

Swan, from a committee appointed for the pur- 
pose, read a choice tribute to her 

Swan's Me- memory, which was adopted as the 
sentiment of the Ladies' Aid Society. 

In ihe paper these words occur : — 

'■ We who remember Mrs. Ryder in the mid-summer 
of her beautiful life think of her as a woman of rare 
qualities of mind and heart ; as ever willing to listen 
to a tale of sorrow or suffering, and to give, from out 
of her own tender spirit, sweet sympathy to the 
stricken one, who always left her presence the hap- 
pier.' feeling that she had been with one who felt 
another's woe, and made it hers. A rare and precious 
gift ! She was always constant and faithful in her 
place at the mid-week meetings, the Ladies' Aid 
Society, and the Sunday services, giving, both by 
precept and example, testimony to the value of these 
and kindred gatherings in the service of our Master. 
A true, tender, thoughtful woman, 'the heart of her 
husband did safely trust in her. 1 " 

The quaint old epitaph found on an English 
tombstone, may well be applied to her : — 

" In heart a Lydia, and in tongue a Hannah, 
In zeal a Ruth, in wedlock a Susanna ; 
Prudently simple, providently wary, 
To the world a Martha, and to heaven a Mary." 



Mrs. Ryder's last days were brightened by the 
presence of her daughter's two children, Ry- 
deria and John French, and she had a strong 
stay and support, and an invaluable companion 
and comforter in her daughter and only child, 
Mrs. Caroline C. Morrill. Her presence was an 
absolute and constant necessity to the invalid, 
whose every want and wish she devoted her 
days and nights to gratify. Possessing many of 
her father's characteristics, she was forced to 
become the head of the house, and managed its 
practical matters with skill and judgment, while 
she tenderly soothed the closing days of the 
invalid, who could bear to lean on no other 
human arm than that of the beloved daughter, 
who within four brief years has been bereaved 
of husband, father, and mother. 


One impressive lesson of this grand and noble 
life should not be overlooked. It is an illustra- 
tion of what Universalism will do for 
versaiism can the heart and the character if without 

do for a Man , • ±i • n r 

ever knowing the influence 01 any 
other doctrine the entire being is submitted to 
and obeys its sway. Many of our people and 
many of our ministers have been converted 


from partialistic forms of faith, anil have re- 
garded the new religion as a " pearl of great 
price," to purchase which one might well - l sell 
all that he had." When such have shown great 
zeal and fine Christian character, it has some- 
times been said, " Ah, yes; but this man's ten- 
dencies were all shaped by other forms of faith 
that gave him his impetus, and by a sort of un- 
conscious moral cerebration he is devoting to 
Universalism the fervor acquired in another 
church." And while such men, heretofore con- 
stituting a large proportion of our ministry 
have been obliged to say, " With a great price 
obtained I this freedom," here is a man who 
could say, " But I was born free." He was an 
hereditary Universalist. He inhaled its spirit 
in the atmosphere of his home in his earliest 
years. He heard its teachings and saw them 
illustrated in the sterling qualities of his father, 
in the saintly graces of his mother, and recog- 
nized their good effects in his native town, 
where they early took deep root. And when 
on Sunday he went to the village church and 
heard the earnest words of the early apostles 
of our doctrines who first proclaimed the faith, 
then " everywhere spoken against,' - in the place 
of his birth, his nature absorbed the spirit of 
the Gospel of Universal Grace ; and impelled 


by its divine stimulus he laid aside all secular 
ambitions, and deliberately chose what must 
have seemed to him a life of poorly requited 

May we not here challenge the attention of 
the world to what Universalism will do for 
one who from earliest youth, uncontaminated 
by lower considerations, surrenders his entire 
nature to its control, and allows it to shape and 
guide his thought and life ? An ambitious boy, 
conscious of power, a lover of money for what 
it can do of good in the world, with a genius 
for business, and who proves that he has the 
qualities that produce the merchant prince, 
quietly lays by the ambitions that thirsted for 
worldly success, and elects the humble vocation 
of proclaiming the most despised of all the 
forms of Christian faith ; and after nearly 
forty years of devotedness to its advocacy, and 
more than a half-century of illustrating its 
principles in his own life and character, he 
leaves this world at the ripe age of sixty-six, — 
the acclamations of all who knew him, includ- 
ing those who reject the doctrines that made 
him what he was, pronouncing him one of 
the noblest and best men of his times. And 
he demonstrates his sincerity, and pays the 
highest possible tribute to his church, by be- 


stowing a princely share of his fortune to speak 
and work for that faith, in his behalf, after 
he shall have left the earth. He was indeed 
a splendid specimen of concrete Universalism. 
Such a life is a permanent exhortation to 
those who accept the doctrines that operated 
in him, unhindered and unrefracted, to submit 
themselves to their control, as he did, if they 
would be at their best and do their best. While 
any one who has perceived their beauty must 
know something of their power by blessed 
experience, yet it can be seen in the example 
of such a man, who more than most illustrated 
their influence by living them out, what they 
will do where they are fairly exemplified, and 
where they are fully incarnated. 

The reason why so many nominal believers in 
the Gospel of Universal Grace are not zealous, 
constant, intense, " in season and out of season," 
in religious effort, is because they are merely 
nominal ; the reason why those who partially 
recognize its divine principles are no more active 
in their behalf is because they do but partially 
recognize them. In proportion as men and 
women perceive the worth of the form of faith 
Dr. Ryder held, and surrender to its control, and 
follow its leadings implicitly, as did he, in just 
that ratio do their lives become noble in what- 


ever sphere they move. Experimentally realize 
God's universal and unending love, and the 
entire success of his plans in the final blessed- 
ness of all moral beings, — really experience 
those truths in the heart (for " it is with the 
heart man believes unto righteousness"), — and 
the best affections will be drawn out toward 
him, and the anxious inquiry will perpetually be, 
" What can I do to be a co-worker with God ? " 
While those who accept the doctrines as merely 
intellectual perceptions will not have their 
hearts thoroughly affected, or their lives fully 
shaped by them, and while those who but par- 
tially appreciate them can only be partially in- 
fluenced, it remains for those noble souls in 
which the precious seed finds congenial soil, and 
who yield themselves to its control, to be moved 
to a devotional spirit and a practical life such 
as no other motives can produce. Such lives 
not only show us the legitimate fruit of this 
faith, but they also show us how all lives might 
be blessed if as obedient to its behests as were 
they. When testing the influence of this re- 
ligion, therefore, it is not fair to cite the half- 
hearted, inconsistent professor, but the appeal 
should be made to one like the subject of this 
memoir, who was not only a professor of its 
doctrines, but their consistent and faithful dis- 


ciple. When asked, therefore, " What can, what 
will Universalism do for a man if it can have 
an unhindered opportunity to mould and make 
him from youth to age, from the cradle to the 
grave?" we can point with grateful hearts for 
such a life to William Henry Ryder, who 
knew no other form of faith, who was born, 
grew up, lived, and died in its blessed atmos- 
phere, who was entirely faithful to its behests, 
and so who ranks among the 

" Thrice blest, whose lives are faithful prayers ; 
Whose loves in higher love endure. 
What souls possess themselves so pure? 
Or where is blessedness like theirs ? " 


The author of this volume had intended to 

present to his readers several of Dr. Ryder's 

discourses. Strict justice to his memory would 

almost seem to demand this. But his 

A Character- 
istic Discourse theme has beguiled him to the very 

by Dr. Ryder. . 

verge ot the space to winch he had 
limited himself, and he is admonished to lay 
down his pen. As he does this he feels com- 
pelled to ask his beloved friend to speak for 
himself in one of his own characteristic dis- 
courses. Perhaps the one selected is as favor- 


able a specimen of his literary style, method 
of treatment, and general spirit and manner, 
as can be given. It is entitled — 

The Strength and Weakness of Universalism. 

Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according 
to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself : that in 
the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together 
in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which 
are in earth ; even in him. — Eph. i. 9-10. 

The foundation principle of Universalism is the 
parental character of God. 

In whatever light his nature and government may 
be regarded, he is the Father and Friend. No attri- 
bute or quality of his being overshadows this essential 
characteristic. God is just ; but he is a good God who 
is just. God punishes ; but he is a Father who admin- 
isters the punishment. He controls the universe ; but 
that control is regulated by infinite love. God is, 
therefore, we assume, thoroughly and absolutely good, 
— all things in heaven, earth, hell, all things new, all 
things from the beginning and to the end, being under 
the control of not only a wise, but a merciful purpose. 
" God is love." 

The second leading doctrine of Universalism is that 
Christ lived and died to lead man to himself and to 
God. No greater good can be bestowed upon man 
than to lead him to himself and to God. By nature 
man is as the Creator intended him to be. He pos- 
sesses within himself all the elements needful to per- 
fected manhood. But these elements need control 


and guidance. The grace of God in Christ furnishes 
the required help. It keeps man true to his own 
nature, or, if he wanders, leads him back to himself. 
But the mission of Christ includes not simply man's 
reconciliation to himself, but man's reconciliation to 
God. The death of Christ is not an offering to God, 
but a pledge to man. It was not intended as a propi- 
tiatory sacrifice, but as an expression of the Divine 
mercy. Christ did not die to reconcile God to man, 
but man to God. The Divine disposition has never 
been other than good. Man was and is the offender. 
He had broken the law written by the ringer of God 
in the human soul, and needed guidance and forgive- 
ness ; that guidance and forgiveness we believe we 
find in Christ. 

Proceeding from these and other positions, we have 
the conclusion of the ultimate restoration of all 
human souls. For Universalism is not simply the 
dogma of the final salvation of all, but a system of 
doctrines of which this happy consummation is the 
result. If God is absolutely good, and absolutely 
sovereign of the universe as well as good, and if Christ 
did die thus to pledge the Divine mercy, then it seems 
to us that evil as a fixed result is an impossibility in 
the government of God, and that, consequently, some 
day in the " fulness of times," the " mystery " of 
which our text speaks will be fully explained by the 
ingathering of all things in him. 

In a word, Universalism believes in God, the Father 
Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. There is no 
God but God. Whatever there is in his universe is 


here by his permission and is under his control. Evil 
is temporary, — a perversion of the right, rooted in 
nothing that is eternal. Right proceeds from God, 
is his will expressed in law and in human conscious- 
ness. Evil then, is not endless ; for in that case God 
would perpetuate the very condition against which 
the forces of his nature are arrayed. Leave man in 
the grave, whither death carries him, and the problem 
of the perpetuity of evil is solved ; but awaken him 
out of that sleep, and clothe him anew, and then take 
from him all moral choice, — thus fixing him in aliena- 
tion from God, — and sin does indeed become endless. 
But before such a conception of God is admissible, 
we must cease to think of him as the loving Father, 
and of the fulness of his mercy in the Saviour. 

This hope that thus rests in the omnipotence and 
compassion of God we believe to be authorized by the 
teaching of Christ. The spirit of the Sermon on the 
.Mount justifies our conception of the goodness of God. 
Whoever starts in his investigation of the teaching of 
the New Testament from this point, and moves care- 
fully forward toward the Epistles, will hardly fail in 
the conclusion that, whatever may be the perplexities 
of some of the Pauline Epistles, the testimony of 
Christ stands for the Fatherhood of God, and that 
there is no limit to his forgiving mercy. 

These words of the Master are to us words of com- 
fort : " All that the Father giveth me shall come to 
me ; and he that cometh to me I will in no wise cast 
out. For I came down from heaven not to do mine 
own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this 


is the will of him that sent me : that of all which he 
hath given me 1 should lose nothing, but raise it up 
again at the last day." (John vi. 37, 38, 39.) The 
parable of the lost sheep is to the same effect, — gone 
astray, but found and brought back. So is also the 
parable of the piece of silver, — lost, but found. In 
the parable of the prodigal son, the wanderer comes 
back to his father's house, and is made welcome in 
the home he had -forsaken. And finally, since the 
world began, has there ever been a more touching 
picture of tenderness and forgiveness than that pre- 
sented by the scene of our Lord's crucifixion ? Truly, 
he " died like a God ; " and in that significant and 
wonderful event, the most august human history has 
known, we behold the love of God, which passeth all 
understanding. In Christ the Father's hand beckons, 
and in him the infinite compassion speaks, — " God 
was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself." 

This interpretation of the Christian religion, which 
is termed Universalism is, in one respect, compara- 
tively new ; in another, it is as old as the word of God. 
The most conspicuous advocates of what is called or- 
thodox doctrine are Tertullian, in the second century, 
Augustine, in the fourth, and John Calvin, in the 
sixteenth. The views of these men have colored and 
fashioned the faith of the largest part of the historic 
Church in all the latter centuries. But it is a great 
error to suppose that the doctrines of Tertullian were 
the generally accepted belief of the early Christian 
Church. Those who wish to examine this suhject 
critically can find the leading facts in " The Ancient 


History of Universalism," by the late Reverend Dr. 
Ballou, first president of Tufts College. In aid of 
our present purpose, I call your attention to the fol- 
lowing statements. Among the great theological 
writers of the second and third and fourth centuries 
are prominently included Origen, and Theodore of 
Mopsuestia. Who were these great men ? What 
were their personal characteristics, and what did they 
teach ? Concerning Origen, Mosheim, the Church 
historian, says : — 

'•Origen possessed every excellence that can adorn 
the Christian character: uncommon piety from his very 
chilclhoood ; astonishing devoteduess to that most holy 
religion which he professed; and elevation of soul which 
placed him above all ordinary desires or fears ; the purest 
trust in the Lord Jesus, for whose sake, when he was old 
and oppressed with ills of every kind, he patiently and 
perseveringly endured the severest sufferings. 

'• Certainly, if any man deserves to stand first in the 
catalogue of saints and martyrs, and to be annually held 
up as an example to Christians, this is the man ; for, ex- 
cept the Apostles of Jesus Christ and their companions, I 
know of no one, among all those enrolled and honored as 
saints, who excelled him in virtue and holiness." 

Of this same saintly leader in the infant history of 
the Church, Dr. Edward Beecher, in his critical and 
scholarly discussion of the " History of the Doctrine 
of Future Retribution," says : — 

"Two great facts stand out on the page of ecclesiasti- 
cal history. One, that the first system of Christian the- 


ology was composed and issued by Ongen in the year 230 
after Christ, of which a fundamental element was the 
doctrine of the universal restoration of all fallen beings 
to their original holiness and union with God. The sec- 
ond is, that after the lapse of a little more than three 
centuries — in the year 544 — this doctrine was, for the 
first time, condemned and anathematized as heretical. 
This was done, not in the general council, but in a local 
council called by the Patriarch Mennos, at Constantino- 
ple, by the order of Justinian. 

" During all this long interval the opinions of Origen 
and his various writings were an element of power in the 
whole Christian world. For a long tune he stood high as 
the greatest luminary of the Christian world. He gave 
an impulse to the leading spirits of subsequent ages, and 
was honored by them as their greatest benefactor. At 
last, after his scholars were dead, in the remote age of 
Justinian he was anathematized as a heretic of the worst 
kind. The same was also done with respect to Theodore 
of Mopsuestia, of the Antiochiau school, who held the 
doctrine of universal restoration on a different basis. 
This, too, was done long after he was dead, — in the year 

And who was Theodore of Mopsuestia ? Let Dor- 
ner, a distinguished evangelical scholar of Germany, 
answer : — 

" Theodore of Mopsuestia was the crown and climax 
of the school of Antioch. The compass of his learning, 
his acuteness, and, as we must suppose also, the force of 
his personal character, conjoined with his labors through 
many years as a teacher both of churches and of young 


and talented disciples, and as a prolific -writer, gained for 
him the title of Magister Orientis. He labored on inter 
rnptedly till his death, in the year 427, and was regarded 
with an appreciation the more widely extended as he was 
the first Oriental theologian of his time." 

This historic survey presents prominently these 
three important facts : (1) That Origen is the father 
of Biblical criticism and exegesis in Christendom, 
and as such is the recognized author of the first sys- 
tem of Christian theology of which the Church has 
any knowledge ; (2) that a fundamental and essen- 
tial element of this creed thus issued by Origen in 
A. D. 230 was the doctrine of universal restoration ; 
(3) that this doctrine remained unchanged notwith- 
standing the prominence of its presentation, and was 
regarded as orthodox for some three hundred years. 
Remember, I am speaking now of the first system of 
Christian doctrine of which the church has any 
knowledge, and hence that which comes nearest to 
the age of the apostles, and to the Bible itself. But 
there is one other fact which sheds much light upon 
the faith of the early church. 

In the age of Origen, and later, there were six 
theological schools in the Church at large. Of these 
six schools one, and only one, was decidedly and ear- 
nestly in favor of the doctrine of future eternal pun- 
ishment, one was in favor of the annihilation of the 
wicked, two were in favor of the doctrine of universal 
restoration on the principles of Origen, and two in 
favor of universal restoration on the principles of 
Theodore of Mopsuestia. It appears, therefore, that of 


the six theological schools in existence in the church 
at large in the days of Origen, and later, four taught 
the doctrine of the final restoration of all human 
souls. 1 

But the Roman Empire is dismembered, and the 
dark ages come on. Literature, art. and the human- 
ities of life fall generally into disregard. The half- 
civilized hordes from the North and East that have 
swept broadly over Europe, deprave the popular sym- 
pathy. The Romish Church is lifted into power, and 
a great ecclesiasticism fills the land, constructed on the 
basis of monarchical power ; the church holds over 
its membership almost absolute sway ; man, as man, 
is of little worth. The babe in its innocence that 
Christ took in his arms and made the type of the 
kingdom of God, is far from the symbol of the pagan- 
ized church that so largely covers the land and con- 
trols the consciences of the people. God the Father 
is transformed into God the inexorable judge, and 
uncounted millions and whole races of people are 
consigned to a burning hell with as little concern, 

1 A very important fact, almost vital to the historv of opinion on 
human destiny, should be recorded in connection with this statement, 
whenever made, — the fact that in the time of Origen there were six 
schools, four of which were Universalistic in their theology. This was 
first brought to modern notice by Dr. Edward Beeeher, in his work on 
Retribution (page 189). But subsequently he states (page 219) that 
the first two were not theological schools at ail. but mere "schools of 
thought." One of them — in North Africa — taught endless punish- 
ment, and the other, which was in Western Asia Minor, the annihila- 
tion of the wicked. In point of fact, the only theological schools 
in all Christendom at that time inculcated Universal Salvation. Of 
these, one was in Alexandria, Egypt ; one in Cassarea, Palestine ; 
and the other two in Antioch and Edessa, Syria. — Author. 


seemingly, as one would cast so many kernels of sand 
into the sea. But no sooner do we touch the boun- 
daries of the sixteenth century — that wonderful era 
of mental emancipation — than those humane ideas of 
God, so long hid from popular view in the closed 
Bible, rise before our sight. Better conceptions of 
the government of God at once find defenders, and 
especially in Germany ; many books are soon after 
written to defend them. Still, of the popular religion, 
even under Protestant sway, John Calvin and his 
institutes are the prevalent type. 

Of the course of religious thought in this country 
during the past thirty years, so far as it bears upon 
this question of man's final doom, I may assume to 
have some knowledge. When I began my ministry 
Universalists stood alone in America in the advocacy 
of the final redemption of the world. 

Then the Unitarians, as a body, took no definite 
position upon this doctrine of the world's salvation, 
though they did plead eloquently for the parental 
character of God and the natural worth of man, and 
among those who rendered efficient service in these 
particulars may be prominently mentioned William 
Ellery Channing. 

But what is the condition of the religious world to- 
day ? In one respect we stand alone, since we are the 
only sect that in its creed asserts the doctrine of the 
salvation of all. And yet what a change ! Then, 
here and there a pulpit, and here and there a believer, 
advocating the doctrine once delivered to the saints ; 
now we have an army of helpers. Then we were 



taunted on the right hand and on the left with the 
question, " How is it that you know all these things 
so well ? If the Bible teaches the doctrine of the 
ultimate redemption of all, if the Bible teaches this 
doctrine that you assert, how is it that the wise men 
of the last five hundred or a thousand years have not 
found it out ? " "What were the doctrines that we re- 
jected ? I name some of the most prominent : the total 
depravity of man at birth ; the transmitted guilt from 
Adam through all his posterity ; that Christ died to 
mitigate the Divine displeasure ; the doctrine of a 
personal devil, and a burning hell for the wicked ; 
the damnation of the heathen for rejecting a Saviour 
of whom they had never heard, etc. Will you tell 
me, my brethren, which one of these positions Ave 
have been called upon to abandon ? Will you tell me 
which one of these positions has not gained strength 
steadily during the last thirty years ? Why, there 
has been of late a perfect landslide into Universalism. 
Had I been told in the beginning of my ministry that 
there would be, within thirty years such an upheaval 
in religious thought, and so general a vindication of 
our theological positions, I could not have believed 
the statement for my joy. 

Many of you have read the recent utterances of the 
new Canon of Westminster. Allow me renewedly to 
call your attention to this passage from one of his ser- 
mons recently delivered in Westminster Abbey : — 

" If this awful doctrine had to be decided by texts, 
then the original language must be appealed to and inter- 
preted in its proper and historical significance. Where 


would be the popular teachings about hell if we calmly 
and deliberately erased from our English Bibles the three 
words ' damnation,' i hell,' and ' everlasting ' ? Yet, I 
say, unhesitatingly — I say, claiming the fullest right to 
speak with the authority of knowledge — I say, with the 
calmest and most unflinching sense of responsibility — I 
say, standing here, in the sight of God and my Saviour, 
and, it may be, of the angels and the spirits of the dead, 
that not one of those words ought to stand any longer in 
the English Bible ; and that being, in our present accept- 
ation of them, simply mistranslations, they most unques- 
tionably will not stand in the revised version of the Bible, 
if the revisers have understood their duty." 

I learn by the public press that sentiments almost 
as remarkable have been lately uttered in several New 
England pulpits, by distinguished preachers. We read 
that ordaining councils are called ; that the candi- 
dates deny the endlessness of punishment, and the 
doctrines of transmitted guilt and imputed righteous- 
ness, but are nevertheless voted ordination and set in 
places of power in the Church, and that distinguished 
representative men by their votes indorse this action. 

But we need not go so far away from home to hear 
strong and significant utterances in denial of the old 
theology. Two of the recognized leading clergymen 
of our city (Reverend Drs. David Swing and H. W. 
Thomas), neither of the so-called Liberal branch of 
the Christian Church, since the first preaching of this 
sermon, two weeks ago, have virtually added their 
names to the rapidly enlarging list of those who denv 
the eternity of misery for any human soul. It is true 


their positions are rather those of denial than faith, 
of doubt than belief ; but the tendency of their thought 
is clear and hopeful. Truly a great change has taken 
place in popular thought on these momentous ques- 
tions of the future life of the soul, whereat we have 
occasion to rejoice. 

But, in announcing my subject, I speak of the weak- 
ness of Universalism. What do I mean by that ? I 
mean, by the weakness of Universalism, Universalism 
as some people state it, and seem to understand it. 
The strongest objection to Universalism that 1 know 
of may be stated in these words: that it places so 
much emphasis on the sovereignty of God and the 
Fatherly good-will as practically to lift from the 
minds of those who accept it that deep sense of per- 
sonal responsibility which it is important for each one 
to feel. 

If this criticism upon the moral influence of Uni- 
versalism fairly represented it, and I could be brought 
to see that it really puts the case as it is, it would not 
take me long to decide whether 1 should continue to 
be its public advocate. Because 1 think I know, as I 
interpret my own life and that of those about me, that 
man needs to realize his union with God, — to feel his 
dependence upon him, and responsibility to him. God 
is good, that 1 believe ; but what am 1 ? He will do 
his part for my best good ; but am I doing mine ? 
Between him and me all is well ; but how stands the 
case between me and him ? This is the question of 
the soul in its better moods. " Work out your own 
salvation with fear and trembling." But this objec- 


tion that I state seems to me to rest in part upon a 
misapprehension of Universalism, and in part upon a 
condition of things for which Universalism is not 

The only universal restoration that I either believe 
or preach is based upon the assumption of universal 
obedience. Universal redemption is simply individ- 
ual obedience universally applied. Just as strongly 
as any of our differing brethren about us, do we preach 
the necessity of a religious life ; nay, we are incon- 
sistent if we do not urge this law of rectitude more ear- 
nestly than most ; for to us there is no way of escape 
from the just recompense of reward. Death does not 
save us. No eternal circumstance or condition does. 
Salvation is conscious obedience to God, not deliver- 
ance from the consequences of Adam's sin, not insur- 
ance from the fire of Divine wrath ; but growth into 
the higher life of spiritual oneness with God. And 
without this growth, this union of the soul with God, 
we know no salvation such as the New Testament 
urges upon us as possible, either in this life or in the 
life to come. But millions die who are not thus saved ; 
what of them ? Our answer is. we do not regard this 
life as a state of probation in any such sense as to 
limit the compassion of God to this world. God, we 
have said, is infinitely and essentially good. Most 
Christians will say this, in general terms ; but if you 
inquire, How long is God good ? many will, if con- 
sistent, be forced to say, He is good to me so long as 
I live in this world ; good, as far as the race is con- 
cerned, for a few thousand vears. "We do not thus 


limit the goodness of God. God is good always, 
everywhere, in all worlds, and under all conditions. 
Whether the soul is in time or in eternity, none the 
less, and no more, is it his child. For God's nature 
knows no change. The rule of equity with him is the 
same as when he performed the first creative act, and 
will remain the same unto the end. God is therefore, 
in our thought, the sinner's Friend. He sent his Son 
'• to seek and save the lost." Pie is wise who listens 
to this kind entreaty ; he is foolish who rejects it. 
He who attempts to set aside the Divine law takes 
upon himself a fearful responsibility. The purposes 
and plans of God are not to be lightly treated. This 
matter of the persistent opposition of the soul to the 
will of God raises some of the most serious questions 
that can possibly engage the attention of man. It 
seems clear that we take with us into the immortal 
life the moral results of our living here, and that the 
mere event of dying works no essential change in our 
spiritual character. If this be so, what ought we to 
be thinking about, and what manner of people ought 
we to be ? The unconcern and seeming indifference 
with which many people, who appear to have clearly 
defined views upon the subject of human immortality, 
treat this whole subject of responsibility and of the 
necessity of personal salvation is one of the most 
confusing and surprising facts in human experience. 
In a sermon preached some time ago on the ques- 
tion, Do the Four Gospels Teach Endless Punish- 
ment? I use this language in reference to after-death 
punishment, which expresses my thought as clearly 


as anything I can give you : " Leaving the region of 
hope and promise, we pass to the second general di- 
vision ; here we touch the land of shadows. Our only 
quotation from Matthew is from chapter x. 32, 33 : 
' Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I 
confess also before my Father which is in heaven, 
But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I 
also deny before my Father which is in heaven.' See 
also Luke xii. 8, 9. By the side of this declaration of 
Christ, we place his conversation with Nicodemus, as 
recorded in John iii. 1-21 ; on the subject of the new 
birth, John v. 25, 28. We quote only the last two 
verses : ' Marvel not at this ; for the hour is coming in 
the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice 
and shall come forth : they that have done good unto 
the resurrection of life ; and they that have done evil 
unto the resurrection of damnation.' To this list we 
add John xii. 47, 48 : ' And if any man hear my words, 
and believe not, I judge him not : for I came not to 
judge the world, but to save the world. He that re- 
jecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that 
judgeth him : the word that I have spoken, the same 
shall judge him in the last day.' These passages 
and others of like import are supposed to teach after- 
death punishment for the unsaved. Perhaps it would 
be nearer the truth to say that they suggest or intimate 
such punishment as the fate of the wicked, rather than 
directly affirm it. But this suffering, however severe 
or prolonged, must be regarded as the legitimate con- 
sequence of an evil life and not any form of external 


I do not hesitate to say that the idea of the final 
recovery of all souls has been too exclusively dwelt 
upon in some of our pulpits and newspapers for the 
highest good of the people. But for this there is at 
least a partial justification in the necessity of the 
case. Assailed on all sides, they defended their po- 
sitions with zeal. But extremes in the attitude of 
religious denominations are nothing unusual. Our 
Calvin istic friends will hardly deny that in their 
preaching they formerly put the doctrine of election 
into a more prominent place than it holds in the 
gospel, and our Methodist co-workers are not to 
be condemned because, in their increasing wisdom, 
they abandon some of the extravagance of their 
method, and both dress and worship more like other 
Christians. Experience has taught them, just as it 
has taught us, that it is not wise for the preacher to 
trust to the inspiration of the hour for something to 
say to his people, but that theological schools and de- 
liberate study, and, at times, even the written sermon, 
are needful to give effectiveness to the ministry. But 
whatever may have been the demands of other days, 
the only duty of the hour is very clear. What are 
the principles on which we rest our hope ? Are we 
incorporating our religion into Christian deeds, in- 
carnating it into righteous living ? The kind of love 
we preach needs to be clothed with spiritual power, 
and illustrated in the active ministry of a reconse- 
crated church. And to this end, I rejoice to see, we 
are working in all portions of our Zion. But there 
is much, very much, yet to be done before our whole 


church shall have taken up these better methods of 
work, and become quickened by the zeal that ought 
everywhere to distinguish us. 

But this objection to Universalism, that it is too 
optimistic in its view of the Divine government, and 
removes certain restraints to holy living, rests in part 
upon a condition of things for which Universalism itself 
is not responsible. It is simply a fact, too obvious to 
be disputed, that a change in the attitude of the mind 
toward any important religious truth is liable to 
lead to looseness in thought, and sometimes to irregu- 
larity in life. The balance of the mind is disturbed by 
the faith which it has lost. But what will you do ? 
What can be done ? People will not believe what you 
wish, and if you have their best good at heart, you 
will not desire they should cling to what is false. 
Suppose it be true that in rejecting the stricter theol- 
ogy some relapse into infidelity, to whom shall the 
blame be attached, if blame there is ? Certainly not 
to the new truth that seeks to save them, but to the 
old error that has misled. We charge a large portion 
of the religious indifference and infidelity of this time 
upon the teaching of Tertullian, Augustine, Calvin, 
and John Knox. It is the natural reaction from their 
extreme and revolting doctrines. 

Shall the leading scientists of our age cease their 
investigations into the phenomena of nature because 
such critical study overthrows some of the old super- 
stitions of the world ? Shall we exclude the truths 
of astronomy because astronomical truth has de- 
stroyed the old superstition in regard to an eclipse ? 


Or shall we not rather state the facts as they are, 
leaving the results with God, all the while taking due 
heed to the necessity of giving to the world the whole 
truth, in all its various phases, as fully as we can ? 
So far as popular success is concerned, the peculiar 
relation which Universalism has been supposed to 
hold to the historic church is an element of weakness 
in it. 

Protestantism was, at first, simply a new scion 
grafted on to the old Papal tree. The abuses and 
usurpations of the Romish Church, and not its system 
of religious doctrines, were the subjects of criticism. 
Luther believed in a burning hell and in a live devil, 
as did also nearly all the other conspicuous reform- 
ers of that time. Thus, as one after another the new 
sects of Protestantism arose, they built upon the 
essential doctrines of the so-called orthodox system. 
They thus, in this general way, maintained their iden- 
tity with the historic church. On the other hand, 
Universalism not only protested against the abuses of 
the dominant church, but rejected what was regarded 
as its essential doctrines. It thus united all these 
several branches of the evangelical party against it, 
and seemed to cut itself loose from the historic 
church. As the case is, we have been for many years 
the best slandered denomination in Christendom, and 
even now our considerate friends of the orthodox 
party hesitate to recognize us as Christians. True, 
the walls of separation between them and us seem 
to be crumbling, and we may yet live to see the day 
when the doctrine of the final restitution of all tinners 


will again take the place in the Christian Church 
which it held in the days of Origen. 

As I turn from this topic, let me say that I con- 
sider myself a member of the historic Church of 
Christ. Into that church I was born, and God will- 
ing, in that church I shall die. I belong to the true 
Catholic Church, the only Catholic Church known of 
man ; of this church Presbyterians, Methodists, Bap- 
tists, Episcopalians, Roman Catholics, Unitarians, and 
all others are alike members, — one family, and only 
one, if so be we take Christ for our Lord and Re- 
deemer, and his words as the rule of our life. 

My friends, it seems to me that I never realized the 
power of Universalism to bring the soul into harmony 
with God as I do at this hour. Many times have I 
talked upon these high themes ; I have thought I ap- 
prehended the spiritual excellence of this religion of 
love, but to-day all earth and heaven seem to me full 
of the glory of God. Our Father who art in heaven, 
blessed eternal God, we so weak, thou so strong, we 
so unworthy, thou so holy and good. God be praised 
for this interpretation of the gospel of his Son ; I can 
work and pray for it with exceeding joy. 

In many respects I like Methodism, and in the sec- 
ond sermon of the series I tried to do justice to that 
most useful denomination ; but under Methodism or 
Arminianism no one can say positively whether any- 
body is to be saved, since no one is certain that the 
needful conditions of salvation are complied with in 
the case of any person. So, too, there are certain 
features of Calvinism which I greatly admire ; but 


under this system no one can tell whether he is to be 
saved, for no one can be certain that he belongs to 
the elect party. Under Calvinism some are to be 
saved, and in that particular it has the advantage of 
Arminianism in being definite as to the salvation of 
some ; but who the some arc, or how many they are, 
no one can say. 

In Univcrsalism all this uncertainty is at once 
swept away. We base our hope upon the government 
of God and his purpose of grace in Christ. His face 
is not averted from us, his heart of pity beats ten- 
derly toward the lowest and the worst ; there is room 
in his holy home for us all ; and for this faith, this 
broad inclusive hope, 1 can work, and, thank God, I 
can pray. Our brethren in the other churches can 
work for their religion, but they cannot pray for it ; 
nobody can think of a man praying that tbc doctrine 
of endless misery may be true. Think of a man 
praying that the orthodox idea of God may be found 
to be correct, so that God may have the infinite pleas- 
ure of peopling the world of hell with the beings he 
lias created ! To think that three-quarters or nineteen- 
twentieths of the human race are to be shut out from 
the favor of God, — nobody can pray for that ! Why 
not ? Why arc we now so much more sensitive upon 
these fearful conceptions of God than people seem for- 
merly to have been ? Simply because the conscience of 
humanity has been quickened into a clearer conception 
of the worth of man. The old errors give way as the 
new truths present themselves and ask for admission. 
And if the soul of man as it rises into nearness with 



God feels thus the glory of a generous sympathy, it 
may be well to ask at what stage of its upward 
growth will it lose this tenderness and compassion, 
and relapse into disregard ; will not these aspirations 
strengthen as we leave the body of the flesh and 
enter upon the abode of the spirit ? And where does 
this love of ours, that thus strengthens with our 
growth, come from but from God ? And if the little 
tenderness in us cannot contemplate without pain un- 
mitigated and endless sorrow, may we not rationally 
hope that God, himself the fountain of love, has 
necessitated no such condition ? The present popular 
protest against certain conceptions of the future life 
is the utterance of the human heart, too long held in 
bondage by the convictions of the reason. The late 
war in this country quickened the religious sympa- 
thies of millions, until at last, " out of the fulness of 
the heart the mouth speaketh." 

Among the elements of thought which distinguish 
Universalism we may properly include our views of 
punishment. We contend that punishment for sin is 
not arbitrary infliction of torment, but natural, pro- 
ceeding from the very laws of the soul; and this 
view seems to be sustained by the better thought of 
the age, by the conclusions of moral science. 

But our sermon is already too long for anything 
more than this mere statement of fact. 

In this discussion, Christian friends, I trust you 
will perceive that I give you what I think are the doc- 
trines of the New Testament. Universalism, as I 
understand it, is a religion and not a philosophy. 


Philosophy is useful, but religion assumes to be 
the word of God. You destroy Christianity as 
a religion when you take the divine or supernat- 
ural element out of it. If Christianity be simply 
the utterance of an uninspired teacher it is not 
a religion, and whenever this comes to be generally 
believed its usefulness as a religion is substantially 
ended. We profess to speak, not in the wisdom of 
man, but in the wisdom of God. We think we have 
the words of eternal life. 

Seeing, then, how greatly we are encouraged by 
the present theological outlook, and that the truth of 
God, as we comprehend it, is finding safe lodgment 
in so many minds, let us thank God and take courage. 
But as we thus thank God and take courage we shall 
do well to remember that there is no argument in 
favor of the truthfulness of any system of doctrine 
more effectual with the people, or more acceptable to 
God, than that which is presented in your own salva- 
tion. There is no substitute for personal religion, for a 
consecrated spirit. Whatever else you may have, but 
not this, you lack the essential thing. 1 beg you all, 
therefore, who hear me this day to consider whether 
in this respect you are doing the best you are able 
both for your faith and yourself. To be truly born 
into the likeness of God is the most valuable gift of 
this life, and the best preparation possible to the soul 
for the life everlasting. 

The exhortation contained in these closing 
words from him who though dead yet speaks, 


comes to us not only in the language of this 
discourse, but from his entire life. May his 
grand illustration of its spirit impress the mind 
of the reader and incite him to increased fidelity 
to God and man ! 



" N D E R~ I N C 

FEB 02